Check Out Thunder on The Ridge and These Other July 4th Events in Polk County
by James Coulter
What’s more American than the Fourth of July than all-American barbecue? How about all-American barbecue served on the Fourth of July? Haines City is offering both fireworks and barbecue by combining its annual Thunder on the Ridge and Ribs on the Ridge events together this Fourth of July weekend.
On Saturday, the city will host Ribs on the Ridge, its annual Florida Barbecue Association-sanctioned contest that draws in teams from across Florida and other states. These teams will participate in either the proffesional or backyard division and compete for the bragging rights of serving the best chicken, pork, ribs, brisket, and overall Grand Champion. Of course, a trophy and cash prize of $11,000 is always good motivation, too!
On Sunday, the city will then host its annual signature Independence Day celebration, Thunder on the Ridge. Local residents and visitors alike can camp out alongside the shores of Lake Eva for a day of fun, games, music, and, of course, a great view of Polk County’s largest fireworks display.
“Attendees should expect to over-indulge in tasting endless varieties of BBQ, food and marketplace vendors, and live entertainment featuring local and talented artists,” wrote Lindsaia Johansmeyer. “If the weather permits, there will be a hot air balloon glow for attendees to experience up close.”
Also, for the third year, the city will partner with kidsPACK, a non-profit organization that helps feed local homeless and hungry children. Attendees are invited to bring along donations of non-perishable food to the event for collection.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Thunder on the Ridge was cancelled this year. To help welcome back the annual event, the city decided to combine it with Ribs on the Ridge for this year only, celebrating both events together as a victory over the yearlong pandemic.
“Due to the pandemic, some events had to be postponed and others canceled,” said Johansmeyer. “After a year of challenges and change, Haines City is excited to have the community back in our parks enjoying the beautiful facilities and amenities Haines City has to offer.”
The City of Haines City would like to commend their presenting sponsor Miracle Toyota, their entertainment sponsor Proflex Products, Inc., and all of their supporting sponsors, local business partners, City Commission, administration, and staff for making this year’s joint event possible.
Here are several other Independence Day celebrations happening across Polk County:
Winter Haven: Rock N’Freedom Fest
Where: Chain of Lakes Stadium, 210 Cypress Gardens Blvd., Winter Haven, FL 33880
When: Sat. July 3, 6 PM – 9 PM
Learn More: https://www.mywinterhaven.com/event/2021-rockin-freedom-fest/
Lakeland: Red, White, And Kaboom
Where: Lake Mirror Promenade, 121 S Lake Ave, Lakeland, FL 33801
When: Sat. July 3, 6 PM – 9 PM
Learn More: https://www.lakelandgov.net/departments/communications/red-white-kaboom/
Lake Wales: Lake Wales 4th of July
Where: Lake Wailes Park, 33 N Lakeshore Blvd, Lake Wales, FL 33853
When: Sun. July 4, 3 PM – 10 PM
Learn More: https://www.lakewalesfl.gov/
Bartow: Fourth of July Celebration
Where: Mosaic Park, 2250 S Floral Ave, Bartow, FL 33830
When: Sun. July 4, 6 PM – 9 PM
Learn More: https://www.facebook.com/events/740456386644994
Frostproof: Lights on the Lake
Where: Lake Clinch, 698 S Clinch Lake Blvd Frostproof, FL 33843
When: Sat. July 3, 5 PM – 10 PM
Learn More: https://www.facebook.com/CityofFrostproofFL/events/
Auburndale: Fourth of July Fireworks
Where: Ariana Park, 2215 Lake Ariana Blvd, Auburndale, FL 33823
When: Sun. July 4, 9 PM – 10 PM
Learn More: http://www.auburndalefl.com/parks-recreation/
Dundee: Fourth of July Fireworks
Where: Lake Marie, 604 Lake Marie Dr., Dundee, FL 33838
When: Sun. July 4, 9 PM – 9:30 PM
Learn More: https://www.facebook.com/events/1145740329229130
Plant City: Fireworks & Fourth of July Celebration
Where: Plant City Stadium
When: Sun. July 4, 6 PM – 9:30 PM
Learn More: https://www.plantcitygov.com/parksrec/page/july-4th-celebration