When it comes to celebrating our nation’s independence, towns like Independence, La., and Liberty, Mo., might win in the most patriotic name category. But Pensacola, Fla., wins in the categories of the best and longest Fourth of July celebration in the U.S.
I biasedly award it “the best” celebration because who can beat the beach, the famous Blue Angels, minor league baseball, fireworks and fabulous fixin’s? It’s the longest celebration because it begins on the Fourth of July and ends a week later, giving families, adventure seekers and millennials plenty of time to celebrate, soak up the sun and witness the waterside Blue Angels Air Show.
The show is the centerpiece of Red, White and Blues Week, but make sure not to miss the other best bets below!
1. Blue Angels Air Show
Visitors have four opportunities to see the Navy’s famous Blue Angels precision flight demonstration team on Pensacola Beach during Red, White and Blues Week. On Wednesday, July 8, you can catch them flying over the beach at 8 a.m. during a practice session. On Thursday, July 9, they host their official practice for the Saturday air show at 2 p.m. The official dress rehearsal show begins at noon on Friday, July 10, and the Blues will fly after the military and civilian acts perform. The Saturday air show begins at noon on July 11 with civilian acts, and the Blue Angels take to the skies at approximately 2 p.m. Want a first-hand experience description of watching a Blues show? Read Katie King’s Blue Angels blog. It will get you pumped up for the amazing experience!
2. The best all-American grub: burgers, barbecue and hot dogs.
No patriotic celebration can be complete without all-American food, and there’s plenty of it in Pensacola. Build your own burger at The Tin Cow (and don’t forget the custom milkshakes there, either). Voted the best burger in Pensacola, sampling a burger from Blue Dot is a must. Or, adventurous eaters can order the “garbage burger” from McGuire’s. Old-fashioned hot dogs with all the fixin’s can be found at the Dog House Deli located on Pensacola Beach or grab a gourmet dog at The Yard. Grab your napkins for some delicious barbecue at The Happy Pig or pour on the sauce at the silver airstream food trailer that’s home to Gunshot BBQ. Also, City Grocery in East Hill is always smoking up some of the best ribs and barbecue on the street, daily.
3. Bands on the Beach
Sing and sway to classic tunes at sunset on the beautiful white sands of Pensacola Beach when you make time in your vacation schedule to attend Bands on the Beach. Pack your adult beverages of choice (no glass, please), sit and sip or boogie down with beach breezes at your back. Bands on the Beach begins at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7, at the Gulfside Pavilion and features Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs.
4. Blue Wahoos Baseball and Fireworks
Pensacola’s Blue Wahoos are away for the Fourth of July weekend, but they’re coming back home toward the end of Red, White and Blues Week. You can catch a game Thursday, July 9, Friday, July 10, or Saturday, July 11, beginning at 6:45 p.m. The Wahoos are the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and play at the award-winning Pensacola Bayfront Stadium where there’s not a bad seat in the house. After Saturday night’s game, the Blue Wahoos will wow crowds with a spectacular firework display over Pensacola Bay. What a wonderful way to end an exciting, event-filled week!