Patriot Acts

If it's 9 o'clock, look up

For Independence Day, you can stay home to watch the television broadcast from the Washington Mall with Barry "Veteran Actor" Bostwick introducing a Star Wars musical tribute by the National Symphony Orchestra. Yikes. Or you can go out and get messy. It's your choice. That's what Independence Day is all about. Choice... and fireworks. And, um, beer... and choice... and fireworks.

Up and down the Broward/Palm Beach coast, skyrockets will make their dusky 9 p.m. flights. The question is, of course, what do you want to go with your skyrockets? Do you want them without painful renditions of "Proud to Be an American" raping your ear? Then head to Fort Lauderdale Beach (Las Olas Boulevard and A1A) and watch the blasts rise from a barge without any extra musical extravaganza. It looks like the city may have spent its entire annual Lee Greenwood subsidy at the Air & Sea Show. That's good news.

Do you want your fireworks with a splash of family fun? Then it's the "Hometown Family Fourth of July" on the Hollywood Broadwalk (Johnson Street and A1A). Music at the Beach Theater includes the Bull Dogs, and Hollywood promises strolling musicians and kiddie activities.

Or do you want your fireworks to include a full evening of spectacle? If so, hit "Fourth on Flagler" at the Meyer Amphitheatre (105 Evernia St., West Palm Beach). Capping off an evening of music (starting off with country music singer Kaitlin Walker at 5:30 p.m.) is American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino, who will be on stage, funnily enough, at 9 p.m. That means you might be watching the rockets' red glare while listening to Fantasia belt out "This goes out to all my baby mamas."Now, that would be a cool new anthem. West Palm Beach's fireworks, by the way, are organized by famed Zambelli Fireworks, which has been a family-run business since 1893 and this year is coordinating an astounding 1,800 July 4th displays that include more than 2 million shells. The Zambellis are like the Joint Chiefs of Staff, only fun and not misguided.

Finally, if you just can't wait until Monday to see sky bang, then your best bet is Sunday's fireworks at Seminole Paradise Hotel & Casino (1 Seminole Way, Hollywood). Yes, those also get shot off at a gloaming-friendly 9 p.m.

 
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