Gulfport’s Patriotic Show

Everyone loves a parade and on the 4th of July, Gulfport created one with 38 registered participants. Pictured on the right and riding a scooter is Dave Mottoli, 97, a WWII veteran who lives in Gulfport. He was flanked by musicians in the local marching band who made their debut public performance. The adult musicians are a part of the volunteer New Horizons Band of Gulfport.

Under threatening rain clouds from the northeast with the bright sun shining from the west, Gulfport celebrated its traditional 4th of July parade beginning at 6 p.m. along Beach and Shore boulevards punctuated by the Casino Ballroom at the turn.

By nightfall, raindrops kept falling on an off until the professional fireworks carefully stacked at the end of Williams Pier, east of the Casino on Boca Ciega Bay, were too soaked to safely work. City officials cancelled the pyrotechnics show at 9:20 p.m. as crowds of hundreds packed local restaurants and bars or huddled under building overhangs in an effort to stay dry.

On the morning of Thursday, July 5, the fireworks show was officially rescheduled for 9 p.m. that night and the 20-minute display was a beauty garnering whoops, whistles, hollers and cheers of appreciation from the enthusiastic crowd that lined the bay.

The New Horizons Band of Gulfport is a non-profit organization and as part of their efforts to raise money for items like licensed music, they offered a “Ring The Bell” opportunity in front of the Casino. Al Holcombe, of Gulfport, started off the 4th of July evening by wearing the supplied celebratory hat ringing the bell before the parade began at 6 p.m.

Laura Henderson, of Gulfport, puts her heart into singing the Star-Spangled Banner on the steps of the Casino as part of the kick-off ceremony for the city’s parade on the 4th of July. She is the “first lady of Gulfport,” said her husband to the crowd, Mayor Sam Henderson. Sam emceed the event.

Roxie sports her patriotic best while she rides in Gulfport’s annual 4th of July parade.

Chefs from Comfort Café rode bikes in the 4th-of-July parade and did circles for the crowd in front of the Casino and Gulfport Police Commander Mary Farrand.

As the emcee of Gulfport’s 4th of July parade, Mayor Sam Henderson reflects on the Casino’s decorations and the crowd of hundreds gathered at the corner of Gulf and Shore boulevards. The parade route was from the Gulfport Public Library south to the Casino then it turned west to the Recreation Center.

Sophia Abdelghani, a Gulfport preschooler, walks in the city’s 4th of July parade carrying pink flamingo themed patriotic decorations.

Gulfport’s Gecko Queen Brian Liggins stirs up patriotic enthusiasm in the crowd lining the streets of Beach and Shore boulevards during the 4th of July parade.

For the first time in at least 14 years, rain cancelled Gulfport’s 4th of July fireworks show, said City Manager Jim O’Reilly. It was rescheduled for July 5. This photo shows multiple shells exploding in the sky over Boca Ciega Bay during a span of several seconds. The professional fireworks were set off at the end of Williams Pier located just east of the Casino.



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