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Posted on: June 18, 2021

Planning for City’s annual Independence Day celebration underway

fireworks

Entertainment returns, no satellite parking, no shuttles

At the March 22, 2021, City Commission meeting, City Manager John Regan recommended that the City proceed with plans for the return of Fireworks Over the Matanzas, the city’s annual Independence Day celebration, in 2021, with some modifications to services being offered and particular attention to CDC guidelines.

“With July 4th just around the corner, we are in full planning mode for a great return of this much anticipated annual event,” Regan said, “and the All-Star Orchestra is returning to the Plaza, as well.”  Regan continued, “it feels good to get back to this tradition that we missed last year due to COVID.  We are excited to celebrate!”

The All-Star Orchestra is scheduled to perform in The Plaza de la Constitución from 6:00pm until 8:00pm, serving up Big Band and popular tunes with a patriotic flare.

Fireworks will reach high over Matanzas Bay starting at 9:30pm.  The 20-minute display is tightly choreographed to a stirring soundtrack of great popular and patriotic music delivered over an extensive sound system transforming the entire Bayfront between the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and the Bridge of Lions into a theatre of sight and sound.

With satellite parking and shuttle service not available this year, there will be limited parking throughout the downtown area.  Visitors are encouraged to arrive early and use the Historic Downtown Parking Facility and parking lots throughout the downtown area.  With multitudes of pedestrians and increased bicycle traffic, those in vehicles are asked to take extra precaution and to please be patient.


Parking and Traffic

The St. Augustine Police Department has a traffic plan that moves vehicles safely and as quickly as possible out of the downtown area following the show. A summary of the parking details can be found HERE.

Parking in city-owned lots and in on-street spaces is free on Sunday, July 4, as it is on all federal holidays.  Drivers are encouraged to confirm that they are parked in a city-owned lot and not a private lot where towing may be enforced by the lot owner.

The Historic Downtown Parking Facility, adjacent to the St. Augustine & St. Johns County Visitor Information Center at 1 Cordova St., offers parking for $15.00 per car, per entry or $3.00 with the ParkNow Card.

Parking in the lot at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is not free and is enforced by the National Park Service from 8:00am - 5:00pm, seven days a week, including federal holidays.  There will be no vehicular access to or from the Castillo’s parking lot on July 4th from 6:00pm until approximately 11:00pm.


Street Closures

Rerouting of traffic begins at 8:00pm and continues until 11:00pm and includes prohibiting vehicular traffic on the Bridge of Lions, Avenida Menendez, Cathedral Pl., and S. Castillo Dr. 

Additional street closures include: 

  • Picolata Rd. between US-1 & San Marco Ave. (8:00pm – 11:00pm)
  • San Carlos between US-1 & San Marco Ave. (8:00pm – 11:00pm)
  • King St will have two westbound lanes, and one eastbound lane, west of MLK Blvd. (8:00pm – 11:30pm)
  • King St. will have one westbound lane and one eastbound lane, east of MLK up to Avenida Menendez
  • There will be NO east bound traffic on W. Castillo from US-1 to N. Cordova (8:00pm – 11:30pm)
  • N. Cordova will be closed from Orange St. to the entrance to the Historic Downtown Parking Facility (8:00pm – 11:00pm)


Arriving by Water

The Bridge of Lions will not open for marine traffic, starting after the 8:00pm opening, until approximately 11:00pm. Vessels will be prohibited in an area north of the Bridge of Lions to a point approximately in line with Castillo de San Marcos National Monument.  View the No Boat Zone map here.  Marine law enforcement will patrol Matanzas Bay and notify vessels in violation of the prohibited area.

The St. Augustine Municipal Marina is currently holding a wait-list for overnight reservations and will have limited hourly dockage on the 4th of July, as well as throughout the holiday weekend. Contact the marina directly on VHF CH 16 or CH 71 for availability and docking instructions.

Fireworks over the Matanzas is produced by the City of St. Augustine with support funding from the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council.

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