Alvaro Diaz-Rubio

Thankfully, you live in Florida. You can buy alcohol even when the Fourth of July falls on a Sunday and pick up bottle rockets and jumping jacks on the side of the road. But when it comes to serious ammo, you need the government. Thankfully, you live in America. Even our cities try to outparty one another. Since the F o' J comes only once a year and you'll be too busy guzzling beers to worry about which city has the best Independence Day festivities, we've handicapped the celebrations for you. All are free unless otherwise noted.

Hollywood's Hometown Fourth

Our rating: Four bottle rockets

At 6 p.m. at Hollywood Beach (A1A between Garfield and Johnson streets), American flags will be handed out, and "Uncle Sam" will wander along the Broadwalk. Fireworks will be shot from a barge at 9 p.m. Call 954-921-3404.

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Secret weapon: Elvis impersonator Chris MacDonald performs.

Pompano Beach

Our rating: Two bottle rockets

Eight magic words: "Fireworks will be shot off of a barge!" -- at 9 p.m. at the Municipal Beach (222 N. Pompano Beach Blvd.). Call 954-786-4111.

Secret weapon: 21-gun salute.

Fort Lauderdale

Our rating: Three bottle rockets

Again, fireworks will be shot from a barge, at 9 p.m., on the beach at A1A and East Las Olas Boulevard. Call 954-828-5363, or visit

Secret weapon: Bars within stumbling distance.

West Palm Beach: Rod Stewart

Our rating: Three bottle rockets

In Rod we trust! He should sufficiently rock the Sound Advice Amphitheatre (601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach). Fireworks follow the 8 p.m. concert, and kids under 14 get in free, but it'll cost the grownups: $32.75 to $95.25.

Secret weapon: Is hairspray a weapon?


Our rating: One bottle rocket

The Rob Rage Band plays at Welleby Park (11100 NW 44th St.) at 6:15 p.m., followed by Starship at 8 and fireworks at 9. Call 954-747-4600 or visit

Secret weapon: The fact that "We Built This City" was voted the worst song ever by Blender magazine may actually be a draw.

West Palm Beach: Fourth on Flagler

Our rating: Five bottle rockets

This celebration has everything. American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke performs. There's a kids area with a trapeze and tight rope. Firefighters rappel down the side of a condo to unfurl a giant American flag, and Cornbread singer Keni Thomas leads the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. Call 561-659-8007, or visit And, believe it or not, at 9 p.m., fireworks will be shot off of a barge!

Secret weapon: Hulk Hogan! The wrestling star introduces his daughter, singer Brooke Hogan. -- Deirdra Funcheon

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