St. Augustine prepares for its ‘Fireworks Over the Matanzas’


St. Augustine is preparing for one of its biggest events of the year: “Fireworks Over the Matanzas.” It’s a tradition for thousands of locals and visitors, who gather at the bayfront each July 4th for Independence Day in the Nation’s Oldest City.

The fun gets started at 6 p.m. Monday with a two-hour concert by The All-Star Orchestra, which will perform a variety of big band and swing tunes, as well as patriotic favorites.

The concert will be held at the gazebo in the Plaza de la Constitucion, which is located at the center of the historic district. Those planning to attend may want to bring a folding chair.

It’s important to note that alcoholic beverages are prohibited on all public property. This includes parks, streets and sidewalks. It is also illegal to possess fireworks that explode or leave the ground.

After the concert, it’s time to move toward the bayfront for the main event, which starts at 9:30 p.m. The dazzling display includes 5,000 individual shells, which explode between 100 and 2,000 feet from the ground. It’s been called one of the biggest and best fireworks displays on the East Coast.

While many people gather along the bayfront to watch the fireworks show, other prime observation spots include the Bridge of Lions and Vilano Beach.

Those planning to arrive by water should note that the Bridge of Lions will be closed to marine traffic from 8 p.m. to about 11 p.m. Boats will be prohibited in the area north of the Bridge of Lions to a point in line with the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument starting at 6 p.m. That area could shift somewhat to the north or south as necessitated by weather conditions.

The “no boat zone” will be strictly enforced by maritime law enforcement agencies.

The St. Augustine Municipal Marina has a waiting list for overnight reservations. It will, however, have limited dockage throughout the holiday weekend. For availability information and docking instructions, contact the marina on VHF CH 16 or CH 71.

“Foreworks Over the Matanzas” is produced by the city with support funding from the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council.

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