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Boom by the Bay 2021: Everything you need to know

After the past year, it's about time for the city of Tampa to party in a big way.

TAMPA, Fla. — Editor's note: The above photo was taken at Boom by the Bay in 2019. 

UPDATE: The fireworks display was delayed by about an hour, due to a computer malfunction, the City of Tampa tweeted. The delay was initially contributed to "safety concerns."

Following the delay, the fireworks show lit up the sky as planned.

After the past year, it's about time for the city of Tampa to party in a big way  – and with big explosions.

We're talking about Boom by the Bay. 

The festival was called off last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, city leaders talked about how they planned to make sure everyone had a safe and fun time. 

“...It’s back on,” said Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan, “And it’s going to be bigger than ever.”

The biggest takeaway was making sure everyone plans ahead. The city has resources to help you get started. 

People can text the word "BOOM" to 888-777 and sign up to get updates sent to their smartphones.

The event kicks off at 5 p.m. Sunday, July 4, with a boat parade and the blessing of the fleet along the Tampa Riverwalk

“The biggest thing is to plan ahead. You know, have a plan,” Dugan said. “As we do with all of our large events, we urge you to use some commonsense tips.”

The city says eight waterfront locations will feature family activities, food vendors, entertainment and, of course, fireworks.

Cue all the "oohs" and "aahs" around dusk as each location is set to launch fireworks at the same time (about 9:15 p.m.)

The city said more than 200,000 people attended the inaugural event in 2019, making it Florida's largest Fourth of July fireworks display.

Viewing locations:

  • Armature Works (5 p.m.): Live music, food and drinks available.
  • Water Works Park (5 p.m.): Food trucks available.
  • Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park (7 p.m.): Live music, family entertainment, food and drinks available.
  • Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park (7 p.m.): Family entertainment, food and drink and live entertainment available.
  • Bayshore Boulevard  (7 p.m.): Food trucks available.
  • Tampa Convention Center (5 p.m.): Food and drinks available.
  • Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park (5 p.m.): Food trucks available. 
  • Sparkman Wharf (3:30 p.m.): Live music, food and drinks available.
Credit: City of Tampa

Safety tips:

  • Plan your day in advance. If you know where you're going to park and your route, it can save you time. 
  •  Leave the fireworks to the professionals. Downtown and the Riverwalk will be crowded, so don't plan to set off your own fireworks at the event, or anywhere else in the city. 
  • Celebratory gunfire is not only dangerous, it's illegal.
  • Once you get there, pick a meeting place so if you become separated from your group, you have a place to meet back up. 
  • Take a picture of the cross streets where you park as a reminder when you want to get back to your car many hours later.
  • If you bring a child, take a picture of your child that day on your smartphone. That way, if they get lost, you can share the most current picture with law enforcement.
  •  Do not drive under the influence.  

Additional entertainment: 

  • VZN Band will be putting on a free performance in the hours leading up to the big fireworks display. You can catch the group’s varying repertoire at the Riverwalk Stage near the Straz Center from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
  • The Friends of the Riverwalk July 4th Boat Parade will set sail down the Hillsborough River at 5 p.m. and includes three blessing of the fleet stations along its route.
  • Hear the sounds of Boom by the Bay by tuning into 103.5 for a soundtrack curated to the fireworks show as it light’s up the sky.

FAQs: 

  • Transportation: There are several parking options available to those looking to drive themselves to Boom by the Bay. If you’d rather rely on the city you can hitch a ride on a HART bus, Coast Bikes, Pirate Water Taxi or TECO Streetcar. More information can be found here.
  • Masks: The City of Tampa is encouraging event-goers to follow CDC guidelines for COVID-19 safety. There will also be sanitation stations spread out across each viewing location.
  • Fireworks: The city is asking those attending Boom by the Bay to leave the fireworks to the experts-- that includes sparklers.
  • What can I bring: Well behaved pets (on leash), chairs and blankets, small coolers, personal food and non-alcoholic drinks.

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