Miami, Florida – Following a couple of down years, a beloved South Florida Fourth of July event made a big return.
On Monday afternoon, partygoers began claiming their spots at Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami for the big Independence Day bash. The event was scheduled to begin at 9 p.m.
For the first time since 2019, the fireworks show returned. Last year it was canceled out of respect for the Surfside building collapse victims and their families, and two years ago it was COVID-19 that shut the show down.
People walking in are greeted by a huge and beautiful American flag, and what else does a Fourth of July party need but lots of food. The stage was set for live music and there were inflatables ready to go. There was also a large police presence to make sure everyone stays safe while enjoying the festivities.
Safety is on the minds of many at the event, in light of the tragedy unfolding in Illinois, where several people were killed and dozens wounded by a suspected gunman earlier on Monday during an Independence Day parade.
“That came across my mind and I looked around and for some reason when I saw the cops and fire truck, it gave me a little bit of sense of calm, but it could happen anywhere and it’s just sad that that’s going on right now, that we can’t enjoy a day like today without any sort of violence, so we’re grateful to be here right now and the fact that we don’t have anything like that going on in Miami…only the heat,” said Haddy Bojani, who is visiting South Florida from Virginia.
This July fourth, Coral Gables Police Chief Ed Hudak debuted his department’s newest tool. “We can launch the drone and then have the officers respond at the same time,” he said.
Coral Gables PD’s drone force is equipped with spotlights, infrared cameras, and speakers to help officers respond to emergencies more efficiently. “We can basically put eyes and ears on anything in the city of Coral Gables, within 2 to 3 minutes,” Hudak said.