Every year we hear people say that no one does an Independence celebration like Apalachicola. And this year is going to be bigger and better than ever. Here’s the scoop on this year’s event...
This Year's Live Music
Johnny Hayes & The Loveseats @ 6:30 p.m.
Johnny Hayes hopes you’re ready to rock out on July 3rd. He’s the lead singer of Johnny Hayes & The Loveseats, the featured entertainment for our “Independence Eve” event.
If you watched the last season of NBC TV’s “The Voice,” you’ll recognize Johnny as the celebrated performer who wowed millions nationwide with his performance of “Statesboro Blues,” one of the Allman Brothers greatest hits and “Hard to Handle” by the Black Crowes.
His rendition of Otis Redding’s hit “Try a Little Tenderness” is what earned him a spot on the show during the blind auditions. His heartfelt performance was authentic. “My wife and I spent our first date playing songs on the juke box for each other. I’d pick one for her, then she’d pick one for me. ‘Try a Little Tenderness’ is the one we both picked for each other, and it’s been our song ever since.”
Johnny characterizes his experience on The Voice as “Amazing... Getting to work with Adam Levine and John Legend was definitely more than I could have asked for. I’m very grateful for the experience of getting to learn from people at the top of their game in the industry. It brought attention to what I do, and ultimately to the band.” The band formed in Nashville about six years ago. Johnny currently resides in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama.
What can you expect to hear on July 3rd? Johnny says, “We do some covers that we feel really define us, but our shows are mostly original music now. We call ourselves a rock and soul band, but we play rock, soul, blues, and a little bit of country, too. I grew up on rock and roll, and listened to a lot of blues. I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older that blues and soul really speak to me. The music I write is a derivative of that.”
The band has a new single out, “Slow Dance,” available on iTunes. Johnny says, “This is the sound that we’ve been trying to accomplish. We’re really excited to be recording a full length album this summer.”
Johnny and his family visit the Forgotten Coast each year. “From the very first time, it became our getaway place. It’s got such a nice, quiet vibe to it. We fall more in love with it every time.”
Of course, there will be no quiet vibes on July 3rd. Get ready to rock out!
Click the links below to watch Johnny perform.
Visit our Food Tent for patriotic eats!
5:00 p.m. - Until
Bugle Burgers, Hero Hot Dogs, & Freedom Fries
Free Children's Activities
5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Kids can visit the Project Impact tent for face painting, art activities, games, fun and prizes!
5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Visit the Apalachicola Main Street tent or look for the volunteers selling tickets in the crowd for your chance to win an awesome Yeti cooler and 2 tumblers donated by Apalach Outfitters! This package is valued at $250!
We'll also be raffling off a tandem bike!
Join in the Red, White & Blue Parade!
The Red, White and Blue Parade will line up and depart from Lafayette Park at 6:30. Bicycles, golf carts, pedestrians, and dogs are welcome to get decked out in red, white and blue and join in. You'll be given a poster to display the name of a veteran you'd like to honor. The parade heads down Avenue B to Riverfront Park. Spaces are first come, first served.
If you would like to enter a motorized vehicle other than a golf cart, please call 850-323-0176 in advance.
Free Ice Cream Social!
After the parade, get in line for free ice cream and all the trimmings!
The Declaration of Independence 7:30 p.m.
Apalachicola's Mayor, Van Johnson Sr., will read excerpts of the Declaration of Independence.
Army Maj. Gen. James Donald (Retired)
Our speaker for the veteran’s tribute will be Retired Army Maj. Gen. James Donald, who makes his home on St. George Island. His many noteworthy achievements include earning the Bronze Star for his leadership as a Task Force Commander with the 101st Airborne “Screaming Eagles” during Gulf War I, his successes as Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army Pacific, and two tours of duty in the Pentagon.
Following his military career, he also served as Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Corrections and Chairman of the Georgia Department of Pardons & Paroles.
In his retirement, Gen. Donald is getting involved in the community in ways such as giving presentations at the Franklin County School and working with a prison ministry program. We’re honored to have him as our speaker for this event.
When the sun dips below the horizon, get ready for the best fireworks show on the Forgotten Coast!
Apalachicola Main Street would like to thank H’COLA for all their help at our Independence Eve Celebration! Every July 3rd, we are proud to have the assistance of members of the Hillside Coalition of Laborers for Apalachicola who prepare and serve food.
H’COLA is a service group from the Hillside Community of Apalachicola which promotes a belief in service to others. The group has served Apalachicola and Franklin County since 1999. President Elinor Mount-Simmons commented about her group’s support of the Independence Eve event saying, “We always look forward to meeting and greeting members of the community as well as tourists that come to the celebration. Volunteering is our group’s way of giving back to the city, and we always enjoy the comradery of working with others!”
One can find detailed information on H’COLA events and activities on theirwebsite. The groups’ main event, the annual African-American History Festival will be held this year on the weekend of February 17-19th. It is a family-friendly outdoor event that highlights African-American art, culture, and food. It is definitely not something to miss out on!
Join the many community businesses and individuals who are supporting this event!
Click here to download a sponsor form and for more information about the levels and benefits.
Ever wonder what happens behind the scenes of the Fireworks Show?
Mike Cates, owner of Cates Electric Services, and his crew donate their time each year to set up and fire the pyrotechnics. Mike is fond of saying, “When you own a successful business in a community, I think you owe something back.”
His 25-plus years of experience working with pyrotechnics enable him to give back in a very unique way. He continues, “Of course, I couldn’t do it alone. It wouldn’t be possible if my employees weren’t willing to volunteer as well. They have a really strong sense of community.”
The fireworks are loaded on a barge loaned to the event by Bill Grimes. Next, Tommy Ward of 13 Mile Seafood volunteers his time to position the barge in the river for optimal viewing opposite the park. The display of lights reflected in the water makes the effect of the fireworks all the more stunning.
Mike Cates (center) and his crew from Cates Electric, with the fireworks loaded on a barge.
"You're invited to celebrate the Birth of America during Apalachicola's Independence Celebration, which is observed on the 3rd of July and fast becoming one of the premiere go-to events in the area, thanks to our friends at Apalachicola Main Street, their community partners and many volunteers."
- Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson
Where to Park?
If you can't find a spot close to Riverfront Park, try the Battery Park area under the bridge or the public parking lot on Market Street near the Veterans Memorial Plaza.
Apalachicola's Independence Eve Event is made possible by the generous financial support of: