72 Saturday, July 2 through Monday, July 4 The 2016 Key Lime Festival Downtown, Key West In the Florida Keys, they like to celebrate the things that make the Keys unique: citrus, eccentrics, people & pie. Head down to the birthplace of key lime pie for a little taste, and you will see what they mean. Love and limes! The weekend events include the Key Lime Cocktail Sip & Stroll, the Key Lime Pie Hop, key lime rum sampling, key lime cooking, a key lime pie eating’ contest and the 4th of July fireworks picnic. Check out the 2016 schedule of events at keylimefestival.com. Monday, July 4 10th Annual Firecracker 5K Run Morgan Family Community Center, 6207 West Price Blvd., North Port. Race begins at 7:30 a.m. The course is flat, fast, and well marked with a water station along the way in the 3.1-mile stretch. Packet pick-up and race day registration is from 6 to 7 a.m. Go to CityofNorthPort.com to register. Cost is $25-$30. Monday, July 4 Englewood Firecracker Festival & Block Party Dearborn Street, Englewood The Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary Club hosts the annual Englewood Firecracker Festival and Block Party on Dearborn Street, followed by the Light Up Lemon Bay Fireworks display. Festivities feature a musical lineup including the Smoked Mullet, Echo Matrix and the Boca Bande, food & beverage vendors, over 60 craft vendors,the area’s largest muscle car & street rod show, and a kids game area with water slides and bounce houses. Don’t miss the world- famous “Chicken Sheet BINGO.” Fireworks over Lemon Bay will begin around 9 p.m. Admission is free. For information, see lemonbaysunriserotary.com. Monday, July 4 25th Annual Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim Peace River, Charlotte Harbor The beloved annual bobblefest, the popular Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim across the Peace River, begins at 2 p.m. The swim begins on the public beach at the north end of the southbound U.S. 41 Bridge in Charlotte Harbor and ends at Harpoon Harry’s in Fishermen’s Village. Many participants wear red, white and blue attire while floating on neon foam noodles or paddling either a kayak or standup paddleboard. Transportation is provided between Fishermen’s Village and the swim starting point. Call (941) 661-5622 for more Freedom Swim details. Monday, July 4 4th Fest 2016 Laishley Park, Punta Gorda Gates open at 11 a.m. 12 giant water slides, live music and vendors. The live music starts at noon and the party continues until 9 p.m., when the fireworks are scheduled to go off. Admission is $3 and kids under 12 are free. For more information see PuntaGordaFireworks.com or call (941) 637-5953. Monday, July 4 Boca Grande 4 of July Fireworks The fireworks start around 9:30 p.m. at the Boca Grande Marina. For more information call (941) 964- 8000. Friday, July 8 through Sunday, July 10 Sarasota Lionfish Derby Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota All are invited to participate in the third annual Sarasota Lionfish Derby! Lionfish Derbies are an important way to harvest large numbers of this invasive species that has spread along the eastern Atlantic coast, Columbia to Escambia counties. Derbies help divers harvest lionfish, provide public education and opportunities to taste the delicious lionfish for free. For all the derby information and to register see reef.org. Thursday July 14 through Saturday, July 16 Sarasota Improv Festival Florida Studio Theatre 1241 North Palm Avenue Sarasota The 8th Annual Sarasota Improv Festival is three days of non-stop comedy! Troupes are coming from all over the country - and this year there will also be international groups, all ready to pack some punch into their improv comedy. Packages are available for purchase by calling the box office at (941) 366-9000. See floridastudiotheatre.org to purchase tickets and for more information. Tuesday, July 19 through Sunday, July 24 36th Annual Hemingway Days Downtown, Key West Whether composing novels in his Whitehead Street writing studio or fishing for big game in local waters, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway left a powerful legacy in Key West. His zest for life, literary accomplishments and enduring affection for the island he called home throughout the 1930s are to be commemorated during the annual Hemingway Days celebration. During his Key West residence, Ernest Hemingway wrote some of his most enduring works and spent his leisure hours fishing and socializing with local and literary cohorts. Each year, fans of his writing and exuberant lifestyle come together for Hemingway Days. For more information see fla-keys.com. Friday, July 22 Christmas in July Downtown Historic Venice. More than 55 merchants and restaurants will be celebrating the non-season. Enjoy sales, specials and prizes. Summer Santa will be there enjoying the holiday and the trolley will be back for all to enjoy! Most sores will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
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