Where to watch Independence Day fireworks from Amelia’s riverfront to the beaches, hear patriotic music, and more.
Three professional fireworks displays are traditionally held on Amelia Island during the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Fernandina’s “Hometown Celebration” is happening in the city’s historic district downtown along the riverfront on Monday evening, July 4th, 2022. The other two professional fireworks displays can be seen by the public from the beachfront, presented by Amelia Island’s two largest oceanfront hotels — the Ritz-Carlton and Omni (see more details further below).
Patriotic Music Concerts
Kicking off the 3-day July 4th holiday weekend in 2022 is an annual patriotic music concert performed by Crescendo Amelia, an 18-piece orchestra. The “Red, White & Swing” concert is happening on Friday evening, July 1, 2022. Enjoy the music starting at 7:30 p.m. (until 10 p.m.), on Amelia Island at the Sadler Ranch (869 Sadler Rd., Fernandina Beach). Tickets range from $20 to $45, see more info and buy tickets online at Eventbrite.
Another music event is happening on Monday evening, July 4, 2022 beginning at 7 p.m., the Nassau Community Band Patriotic Concert. The performance venue is St. Michael Catholic Church Parish Hall in downtown Fernandina Beach (202 North 4th St.), free admission. The concert will feature the following musical selections: Armed Forces Salute, John Phillip Sousa’s Stars & Stripes Forever, The Thunderer and Semper Fidelis, The Genius of Ray Charles, Music from “The Patriot” movie, Battle Cry For Freedom, American Anthem, American Flourish, Americans We, and The Great American West Suite. Food will be available for purchase at St. Michael’s beginning at 5:30 p.m. ($10 advance meal ticket or $15 at the door) — hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans and potato salad. Phone: 904-261-3472.
Downtown Fernandina Beach Fireworks (9 PM)
The festive “Hometown Celebration” begins in downtown Fernandina Beach at 6 p.m. on Monday, July 4, 2022, featuring food vendors, face painting for the kids and FIREWORKS over the Amelia River. Available for purchase will be menu items from Indulge Food Truck, Philly Boyz Cheesesteaks, Hendra’s Funnel Cakes, and snow cones. “Light Up Amelia” will be shooting off Independence Day fireworks downtown at 9 p.m.
The Fourth of July celebrates America’s “Declaration of Independence” in 1776 from British rule, this year the 246th anniversary since the nation’s birth. The tradition of using fireworks to celebrate America’s Independence Day dates all the way back to the very first anniversary celebration on July 4, 1777. According to historic accounts, the first celebration took place in the city of Philadelphia on July 4, 1777 (where the Declaration of Independence had been signed the year prior). Back then, however, orange was reportedly the only color of the fireworks exploding in the sky.
Fourth Of July At Amelia Island’s Beaches
Thousands of people visit Amelia Island’s seashore from the north end to the south end on the Fourth of July during daytime and in the evening. Many gather with family and friends, set up sun shelters and umbrellas and folding tables to accommodate holiday picnic feasts to share at the beach. Lots of folks bring their own fireworks of various varieties and shoot them off from the beach in the evening. (See also info further below about July 5th beach clean up, volunteers needed).
Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton Fireworks (9:15 PM)
The “Red, White, and Deep Blue Celebration” will be held at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island on Monday, July 4, 2022. This “All-American Lawn Party” features ceviches, shrimp cocktail, marinated steak and grilled local fish, summer vegetables, and a dessert bar. Event begins at 7 p.m. with live music and family games. The grand finale is the oceanfront FIREWORKS DISPLAY at 9:15 p.m. Tickets for kids start from $75 (plus taxes & fee). Adults 21+ with drink package are $200 (plus taxes and fee). The general public not attending the lawn party can view the fireworks from Amelia Island’s beachfront. The two nearest beach accesses with largest parking lots are Nassau County’s Peters Point and Burney Park at American Beach.
Omni Amelia Island Resort Fireworks (9:30 PM)
On Monday, July 4, 2022, Omni Amelia Island resort guests can enjoy various activities and a fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. The fireworks can be seen by the public from the seashore. The largest, closest Nassau County public parking lot is at Burney Park (American Beach), then walk south along the beach for a better view. A small public parking lot in the vicinity is Nassau County’s south end beach access.
American Beach, Draped In Red, White & Blue
It was an enjoyable, mellow night lacking big crowds last year in the evening of July 4th at American Beach. Instead, scattered groups of beach goers were spread across this Nassau County beachfront. Seen below, the glow of fireworks as beach goers watched others shoot off fireworks.
Some oceanfront homes were draped in red, white, and blue as seen below, the patriotic backdrop of swaying sea oats along the dune-lined beachfront.
This year, however, the cost of purchasing fireworks has reportedly exploded like everything else. Inflation woes now face the nation from the gas pump to the grocery store. Plus rising costs to buy a vehicle, lease a place to live or buy a home. The overall cost of living has quickly escalated like the powerful heat-fueled summertime storms that blow in from the sea here in Florida. American wallets have been pummeled in 2022, so perhaps fewer folks will actually shoot off their own fireworks this year.
History Comes Alive At Fort Clinch State Park
Also happening this first weekend of July 2022 is a re-enactment at Fort Clinch State Park.
Fort Clinch Union Garrison — Sat., July 2, 2022 & Sun., July 3, 2022
This living history experience is happening on Saturday, July 2, 2022 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and on Sunday, July 3rd, 2022 from 9 a.m. until noon. Historians and/or volunteers often take up duty in the infirmary, blacksmith shop, jail, laundry, and kitchen. Fort Clinch State Park also features miles of shoreline and stunning panoramic waterfront views.
Regular daily fees to enter Fort Clinch State Park at the front gate depends on your mode of transportation and number of people entering. Driving a vehicle into the park with single occupant is $4. Otherwise it’s $6 per vehicle (for 2 to 8 people). The entry fee drops to $2 per person if riding a bicycle or walking into the park. To actually stroll over the drawbridge and through the brick tunnel to tour the historic Civil War-era fortress costs an additional $2.50 per person. It’s is definitely worth it!
Fort Clinch State Park is located at 2601 Atlantic Avenue, Fernandina Beach. Questions? Call Fort Clinch at 904-277-7274.
Many people prefer to celebrate Independence Day at home, avoiding the larger crowd-drawing fireworks displays. Instead, they opt for backyard barbecues or go to a neighborhood gathering. And some just stay home to soothe the nerves of pets that get upset by fireworks.
Wishing all a safe and happy weekend wherever you spend the Fourth of July 2022 holiday weekend.
Beach Clean Up — Fireworks Roundup July 5, 2022
Fourth of July is a happy holiday for the beach-going public, but the day after not so pleasant for Mother Nature. It’s unfortunate that while so many enjoy the privilege of visiting the beaches, some seem unbothered about leaving their trash behind, including fireworks debris. When tides come in and retreat, the trash is washed into the sea.
Volunteers help scour Amelia Island beaches after the holiday weekend to help pick up trash and fireworks debris. An annual beach clean up is held, the Fireworks Roundup (this year on Tuesday, July 5th, 2022 from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.). Organized by Keep Nassau Beautiful and Amelia Island Beach Ambassadors (register here to volunteer). Or just go to your favorite beach access in the morning on July 5th, bring trash bags and gloves, and gather any garbage found.
Editor’s note — This article was updated July 1, 2022.