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Sunday, August 14, 2022

From land to shining… lake: Alachua County celebrates Fourth of July

Residents upheld decadeslong traditions and festivities

<p>Cities across Alachua County will uphold several Independence Day traditions Monday.</p>

Cities across Alachua County will uphold several Independence Day traditions Monday.

Fireworks illuminated the sky as new and long-time residents celebrated fourth of July weekend events.

Family members and friends joined together to uphold decadeslong county traditions: races, rhinos, boats and melons.

A day after UF hosted the Fanfare and Fireworks event at Flavet Field, two parades also celebrated the Fourth of July — one on land and one on the lake.

Bouncers, an indoor bounce house park at 3401 NW 34th St., held its sixth annual July 4 Bike Parade in the parking lot, where attendees decorated their bike, scooter or stroller. 

American flags flew on boats over Lake Santa Fe for the county’s annual event, hosted by the Melrose Business and Community Association. Star spangled vessels gathered at the entrance of the lake’s boat ramp at the south end of Big Lake Santa Fe and paraded counter-clockwise along the shore. Spectators viewed the parade from the docks.

The city of Alachua held its 22nd annual Fourth of July celebration at the Legacy Park Multipurpose Center Monday. The event, dubbed the “The Largest Small Town Fireworks Display in America,” offered free entry and parking and had activities for kids, live music and fireworks.

About 20 miles away, the City of Archer donned red, white and blue at a new location for their annual Red White and Boom Independence Day event. The festival moved from Wilson Robinson Park to a larger location off Archer Road, about two miles west of Santa Fe College’s Ron and Norita Davis Center. The event featured a watermelon-eating contest, an apple-pie-eating contest, food, arts and crafts vendors, a firework show at sunset and live entertainment by a pair of DJs.

More than 70 watermelons were purchased for the Florida Track Club’s 44th Annual Jack Gamble Melon Run at Albert "Ray" Massey Westside Park for participants to enjoy after the three mile trek. It is the second year since the club changed the event’s name to honor Jack Gamble, the club’s first president and a former UF soils professor.

Deborah Scheuer, who directed this year’s event, felt honored to share Gamble’s legacy and his contribution to the running community at the family-friendly event.

The Carson Springs Wildlife Conservation Foundation, which is located at 8528 E. County Road 225, observed Independence Day outdoors with group tours, big cats and rhino feedings, rare animal interactions and photo opportunities.

Contact Mickenzie Hannon at mhannon@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @MickenzieHannon.

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Mickenzie Hannon

Mickenzie is the city and county commission reporter for The Alligator’s Metro Desk. She is a third-year journalism major, specializing in data journalism and pursuing a master’s degree in audience analytics. When Mickenzie isn’t writing, she enjoys watching horror movies, reading, playing with her pets and attending concerts.


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