Fireworks Over the Matanzas: July 4th St. Augustine tradition

Fireworks Over The Matanzas begin at 9:30 p.m. July 4 in downtown St. Augustine.

Fireworks Over The Matanzas begin at 9:30 p.m. July 4 in downtown St. Augustine. Live music begins at 6 p.m. in the Plaza.

From the City of St. Augustine

Friday, July 4 – Downtown St. Augustine

6 p.m. The All Star Orchestra in the Plaza
9:30 p.m. Fireworks Over the Matanzas

Holidays are built around traditions and few holidays have more great family traditions than the Fourth of July: great food, outdoor band concerts, a day with friends and family, and of course, fireworks! They all come together in a grand celebration and there’s no better place to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day than in the Nation’s Oldest City and no better way than Fireworks Over The Matanzas.

First, There’s Music

Starting at 6:00pm one of the region’s most popular big bands, The All Star Orchestra, returns to the Plaza de la Constitución (click here for a map) for a two-hour show filled with big band and swing music along with all the traditional patriotic favorites. The All Star Orchestra’s performance from the Plaza’s Gazebo runs from 6:00pm until 8:00pm. The concert is free and those attending should bring lounge chairs for seating.

Then there’s fireworks!

Fireworks over the Matanzas, the highlight of St. Augustine’s traditional July 4th activities has become synonymous with celebrating Independence Day in the Nation’s Oldest City. The spectacular aerial display of pyrotechnics high over Matanzas Bay begins at 9:30pm.

The 20-minute display is tightly choreographed to a stirring soundtrack of great popular and patriotic music delivered over an extensive sound system transforming the entire Bayfront between the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and the Bridge of Lions into a theatre of sight and sound (click here for a map).

For over two decades Fireworks Over The Matanzas has been produced by Fireworks by Santore, a company based in nearby Palm Coast, Florida that’s been in the fireworks business for 124 years. Fireworks Over The Matanzas is just one of more than 250 shows produced by Fireworks by Santore annually including shows for Daytona International Speedway, Sea World Orlando, Walt Disney World and a large number of corporate and private events all across the country. They started working on this year’s Fireworks Over The Matanzas including its choreography to a specially selected soundtrack, over five months ago.

This year’s Fireworks Over The Matanzas will include 5,000 individual shells ranging in size from 1″ to 12″ in diameter. Some will explode as low as 100 feet above Matanzas Bay, others as high as 2,000 feet and everywhere in between. In addition to St. Augustine, Santore crews will be firing shows in 40 other locations on July 4 to celebrate our nation’s birthday.

Enjoy downtown after the show

Many visitors attending Fireworks Over The Matanzas remain downtown at the conclusion of the show for a late dinner or to visit the shops that have learned the value of extended hours after the fireworks. Given the choice between spending time strolling downtown with friends and family or waiting in the traffic, more and more people are taking their time for departure.

Keep it safe and legal

Those attending Fireworks Over The Matanzas should remember two important safety rules that will be strictly enforced:

• Alcohol is prohibited on public property, including parks, streets and sidewalks; and
• Possession of fireworks that explode or leave the ground is illegal and those found with such fireworks will be subject to $100 citation or arrest and will have prohibited fireworks confiscated.

Simply put: Have a great time with friends and family, but keep it safe and legal!

In the event medical assistance is needed, the St. Augustine Fire Department along with St. Johns County Emergency Medical Services will have a base station at the main entrance to the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and will have personnel roving on bicycles throughout the evening.

Getting in, parking, and getting out

St. Augustine’s annual Fireworks Over The Matanzas draws more people–and cars–into the downtown area than any other single event all year long. A growing trend in recent years has been the use of bicycles by those who live close to downtown or carpooling with friends to minimize the number of cars in need of a place to park.

Rerouting of traffic will begin at 8:30pm and will include closing of the Bridge of Lions, Avenida Menendez and South Castillo Drive to all vehicular traffic to accommodate the vast number of pedestrians. The best advice is to arrive early, explore the city, enjoy the show, and be patient during departure.

Parking in city owned lots and on-street is free on July 4th, as it is on all national holidays, with the largest concentration of surface parking located on Granada Street behind the Lightner Building (click here for a map). The Historic Downtown Parking Facility located at the Visitors Information Center (click here for a map) can accommodate 1,200 vehicles. The rate is $10 per car per entry. Also there will be no access to or from the parking lot of the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument from 6:00pm until 11:00pm.

St. Augustine’s Old World streets are a key component of its Old World charm and a challenge when dispersing large numbers of vehicles, but the St. Augustine Police Department has refined a traffic plan that moves vehicles safely and as quickly as possible out of the downtown area following the fireworks. King St. will be dedicated to west-bound traffic out of the downtown as well as both lanes of West Castillo Dr. Traffic signals in the downtown area, along Ponce de Leon Blvd. (U.S. 1), Anastasia Blvd., and State Roads 312, 207 and 16 will be monitored to facilitate traffic flow.

Those who make it possible

Fireworks Over The Matanzas is made possible by support from the City of St. Augustine and the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council. For St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and the Beaches visitor information, call 800.653.2489 or visit www.floridashistoriccoast.com.

For more information call the City of St. Augustine Public Affairs Department at 904.825.1004 or email info@citystaug.com.

 

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