Wellington and Royal Palm Beach enjoy a good-natured rivalry now and again, and the Fourth of July celebrations are just such an opportunity, with full days of events capped with competing half-hour fireworks displays scheduled to be touched off within 15 minutes of each other. From some vantage points, the overlapping timing of the spectacles might be visible with clear skies over both communities.
Both displays are being produced by the Zambelli Fireworks Manufacturing Company out of Pennsylvania. The Italian Zambelli version of the company was founded in Naples, Italy in 1893, then reformulated in Pennsylvania in 1960. It has an office Boca Raton.
It is little coincidence that Zambelli handles both shows, as they are a leader in pyrotechnics, fireworks and special effects shows, producing more than 2,000 productions worldwide each year with nearly half of them in celebration of America’s Independence Day.
While both displays have the same parentage, last within minutes of the same length of time and cost pretty much the same, nearly $40,000 offset by sponsors’ fees, Wellington’s Michelle Garvey insisted that her village’s display will be the best.
“Our show has more spectacular fireworks in our 25-minute show than most,” said Garvey, coordinator of the event, who promised more bang per minute. “This year, we went bigger and better by working with Zambelli to truly make it above the rest.”
In Wellington, the day begins at noon with a Patriotic Pool Party from noon to 5 p.m. at the Wellington Aquatics Complex. It is just $5 for adults, $3 for juniors, $2 for seniors and free for children. Offering fun activities and contests scheduled on the hour, it is a favorite way to stay comfortable in the July heat.
“We do encourage attendees to visit the aquatics complex to cool off and enjoy pool games throughout the day, like relay races, belly flop competitions and more,” Garvey said.
Next it is time to head over to Village Park on Pierson Road for the Independence Day festivities. An evening of family fun gets underway at 6 p.m.
“If we avoid the rain, we fully expect 8,500-plus attendees,” Garvey said.
There are the usual and not-so-usual vendors and craft sellers, as well as about a score of favorite food trucks offering up a variety of gourmet eats and sweets for purchase.
There will be bingo and bounce houses, inflatable slides and amazing maize mazes and obstacle courses, the “face-to-face” wall climb, face painting, a petting zoo and pony rides, pie eating and watermelon consuming competitions. Challenge family and friends old and new with contests like egg tossing, sack races, tug-o-war and more.
“Those faithful attendees, who join us each year, know that we have something for everyone: bingo and face painting inside — if they want to get out of the heat — a fabulous petting zoo and pony rides, bounce houses, a rock wall, Crazy Games for the 6 to 13 age range include ‘hamster balls,’ plus traditional games like apple pie eating contests,” Garvey said.
Live entertainment will be provided throughout, and adults can give the gift of life by donating blood at OneBlood’s Big Red Bus.
South Florida’s premier party band, Gypsy Lane Band, will play all the favorite hits from Motown to reggae, soul to funk, disco to hip-hop and more.
“New this year will be stilt walkers who will entertain through various performances throughout the crowds from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.,” Garvey said. “We encourage attendees to arrive early to enjoy all of these unique amenities. We will have free shuttles to and from the Mall at Wellington Green from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.”
Wellington’s Fourth of July Celebration is sponsored by local businesses, including Joe DiMaggio Children’s Health Specialty Center. Learn more at www.wellingtonfl.gov/events.
Given a much more formidable moniker of the Village of Royal Palm Beach’s 60th Anniversary Star-Spangled Spectacular July Fourth Independence Celebration, Royal Palm Beach officials claim their fireworks display is second to none, including previous years.
This year, for the first time ever, the celebration will be sponsored by a local entity, instead of being underwritten by the village. The inaugural sponsor is Palms West Hospital, slated to soon become part of the village.
Assistant Director of Parks & Recreation Mike Mikolaichik said that everything is free at the celebration except the food trucks and the craft vendors, and there will be tournaments throughout the day.
“Starting at 6:30 a.m. is the Bassmasters Fishing Tournament for ages six and up that is free,” Mikolaichik said. “At 8 a.m. is the volleyball tournament, where we are expecting 20 teams.”
The fun will continue all day long.
“During the day, there is kayaking and paddle boarding, at 4 p.m., all free. The kids fun zone has no wrist bands — everything is free this year — and there are patriotic craft areas where the kids can make a craft for free.”
By 4 p.m., it’s time for conspicuous consumption as the gourmet food truck expo features crowd favorites for a wide selection of tasty snacks, desserts and dinners.
There are food trucks, crafts and vendors that attendees have come to expect, with maybe a few surprises tossed in.
Mikolaichik said that at 5 p.m., there will be a cornhole tournament and a ladder golf ball tournament.
The live entertainment also begins at 5 p.m. with a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band called Saturday Night Special, followed at 7 p.m. by a Bruce Springsteen tribute band, the Boss Project.
At 8:30 p.m., Mayor Fred Pinto takes the stage to welcome attendees and unveil the new village slogan that will be on official village flags henceforth.
The mayor will introduce the American Legion presentation of the military branches tribute, displaying flags of each branch of the military.
“At 9 p.m., it is fireworks time with one of the best displays in the area,” Mikolaichik said. “We are expecting 15,000 to 20,000 people. It is a pretty popular event.”
One complaint of previous events has been the bottleneck of traffic leaving all that on-site free parking at Commons Park, so the village has scheduled a second concert by the Boss Project.
“They’ll play for another hour so people can watch more of the show and leave at their leisure,” Mikolaichik said.
For more information about the Royal Palm Beach celebration, visit www.royalpalmbeach.com.