Here on Scenic Highway 30-A, July Fourth is not only a national holiday, it’s a deep-rooted local tradition. From all-day beach parties on Grayton Beach to symphonies and fireworks shows, this is one of the busiest weekends in the area.
For my family, this is the assumed “schedule” that we go by each year:
1. Wake up at 5:30 a.m. to brave the fierce battle for the best spot on Grayton Beach.
2. After helping my dad set up our stuff on the beach, we go on a short run down each road in Grayton in advance of the parade to scope out the other decorated cars and see if we have any chance at being honored as the best float. (Unfortunately, this has never happened).
3. Arriving back from our run, we frantically wake up the lazy members of the Taylor family, explaining that we have exactly 30 minutes to make the best float in Grayton Beach.
4. Throwing on our best red, white and blue bathing suits, we grab duct tape and the box of Fourth of July decorations and get to work, while dad yells not to rip the paint off of the Jeep. (This happens every year).
5. The Grayton parade starts around 8:30 a.m., with plenty of candy-throwing and children waving from the sides of the road.
6. The parade ends around 9:15 a.m. at Grayton Coast Properties, my aunt, Kitty Taylor’s business. They serve watermelon and popsicles for everyone who shows. When all of the watermelon is gone, we all agree to go home, pack our coolers, and “meet ‘ya at the beach.”
So after reading this, I’m sure you’re ready to weigh out your options and create your own 30A traditions for your family. In addition to Grayton Beach, there are plenty of events planned all over South Walton, and they’re included below. Happy Fourth!
Looking for more freedom-centric fun? Here’s the full-line up of local activities:
6 – 9 p.m. 4th of July Concert featuring Celebrity Allstars Band
9 p.m. Fireworks
8:30 a.m. Old Fashioned 4th of July Parade
Decorate your bikes, golf carts, cars, jeeps, boats, scooters, etc. and take part in the parade. Parade line up starts at 8 a.m. at Red Bar. Everyone is welcome! After, enjoy watermelon and lemonade at Grayton Coast Properties.
7:30 a.m. Bike Decoration Contest & Breakfast at North Barrett Square
8:30 a.m. Bike parade through the Town Center
9 a.m. Family field day on Western Green
Sack races, water balloon toss, games, prizes and more!
6 p.m. The Like Totally Hep Cats on Western Green
3-9 p.m. Independence Day Party and Cookout at Havana Beach Rooftop Lounge
Includes All-American fare with craft beer and drink specials available for purchase. Walk-ins welcome. Cabana rentals available, call 850.588.2882.
8:45 p.m. Fireworks on the beach
Blankets and lawn chairs are welcome.
Check out this awesome drone video by Beau Babics that perfectly captures the festivities at Seaside:
July 3: 7:30 p.m. Stars & Stripes Pops Concert in the Seaside Amphitheater
Kick off the Seaside Independence Day celebrations with the Stars & Stripes performance.
The patriotic Pops concert led by Pensacola Symphony Orchestra Maestro Peter Rubardt will feature familiar Independence Day-themed music including “The 1812 Overture” and a salute to the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
July 4: 8 a.m. South Walton 4th of July Parade (from Seagrove to downtown Seaside). Make sure to register in advance to have a float in the parade.
Please note that a portion of Scenic Highway 30-A will be closed for a few hours to accommodate the parade.
7 p.m. The Victory Belles Concert at the Amphitheater
8:30 p.m. Fireworks Spectacular over the Gulf of Mexico
Park & Ride into SEASIDE
July 4th Shuttle Service
Seaside is making FREE shuttles available from 6 a.m. until midnight from the Grayton Beach Public Parking Lot on CR 283. Guests can simply park and ride into Seaside.
July 3: 5:30 – 10 p.m. Easy on 30A Concert
Stop by Marina Park to celebrate July 3 with music and dancing for a great cause. Enjoy live music, raffles, a silent auction and much more. Bring a cooler, blanket and chairs. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. This event is open to the public.
July 4: 10 am. Cerulean Park*
Bring your bike down to Cerulean Park to decorate with patriotic colors for the annual Bike Parade. Streamers and other items will be provided. Then join the fun for the annual July 4th Bike Parade. The route will begin at the south end of Cerulean Park, traveling around the front of the resort and ending in Marina Park.
*This is a private event for WaterColor homeowners and guests.
6 – 9 p.m. Red, White and Baytowne includes lawn games, inflatables, kids crafts, face painting, live music and more at Baytowne Wharf.
The SOLARIS Yacht departs from Baytowne Marina. Get the best seat in the house for the fireworks display!
6 p.m. Fourth of July BBQ at Baytowne Marina
With kids games, live entertainment AND delicious barbecue on the beach in front of Baytowne Marina.
7 p.m. Live Music by Donovan Keith
9:15 p.m. Fireworks over the Choctawhatchee Bay!
Also, check out our 30a.com/events calendar for plenty more fun events happening throughout the weekend!
Did we miss something? Please let us know so we can add it to our official schedule.
JESSIE TAYLOR is a contributing writer for 30A.com.