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Tampa Mayor Jane Castor launching her first term with a banging 4th of July

“Tampa’s known for all of our celebrations and traditions.”

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is adding the Fourth of July to her growing list of ‘things to do’ now that she’s in office.

Castor is leading the city in a take-over of its annual fireworks displays, potentially putting an end to the duds over the last couple of years.

The city will assume fireworks displays in downtown that were previously organized through Friends of the Riverwalk, Castor announced in a video Monday.

Last year the show was cut short, in part due to funding cuts. The year before that a technical glitch delayed the show and cut it short. Both mishaps left celebrants disappointed.

Castor’s “Boom by the Bay” celebration will include family-friendly activities, live entertainment and four separate fireworks displays along downtown Tampa’s waterfront.

“Tampa’s known for all of our celebrations and traditions. And as your new Mayor, I want to kick off my time in office with a bang,” Castor said in the video (below).  

“Today I’m excited to announce that we’re sparking a brand new tradition in Tampa. One that celebrates our nation’s independence, our freedoms, and all the things that make us proud to be American.”

The first year’s display will be privately funded with as much as $200,000 that the city is working to secure through private donations. The firework displays themselves will be put on by a third-party vendor.

Taking over fireworks displays doesn’t necessarily guarantee a successful event.

The city of St. Petersburg also facilitates its downtown fireworks. Last year St. Pete’s vendor, Creative Pyrotechnics, cancelled its show after a 30-minute delay citing technical difficulties. Onlookers were expecting a 9:15 p.m. show, but were told a half-hour  after the display was supposed to begin that it was cancelled.

It’s not clear yet which vendor Tampa will use for its displays. Displays are set for Armature Works, Riverfront Park, the Tampa Convention Center and Sparkman Wharf in the Channel District.

Castor said she’ll announce more details on the event in the coming weeks.

Castor’s predecessor, Bob Buckhorn, was known for his River O’ Green celebration on St. Patrick’s Day when boats poured non-toxic dye into the Hillsborough River to turn it bright green.


Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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