A watermelon-eating contest is just one of many activities planned for the fun-filled July 4th Catch the Spirit & Celebrate America festival at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds.

Get ready to immerse yourself in a day of patriotic revelry as Hillsborough County Fairgrounds unveils plans for its inaugural July 4th festival, entitled Catch the Spirit & Celebrate America, presented by Odiorne Insurance. Admission is free for this community extravaganza, which promises a day packed with fantastic food, exciting activities, engaging contests and live entertainment, culminating in a breathtaking, patriotic drone show after sunset. Gates open at 1 p.m. for this family-friendly event, with parking available at $10 per vehicle.

“Hosting a July 4th festival is a natural fit for the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds,” said fair manager Suzanne Holcomb. “By expanding our roster of self-produced events, the Fairgrounds is becoming the go-to venue for family-friendly activities throughout the year.”

An array of interactive activities will fill the afternoon, including a charming pet parade and costume contest, the adorable Little Miss and Mr. Firecracker competition and watermelon-eating challenges. The Ridge Country Band takes the stage in the Entertainment Pavilion at 3 p.m., and the Eric Von Band continues the toe-tapping beats beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Young ones can have a blast petting and feeding farm animals and sliding down inflatables in the kids’ zone, while adults can unwind with a refreshing beverage at one of the beer tents. Fans can explore craft vendors, admire the antique car show and discover organizational displays throughout the day.

The evening culminates with a one-of-a-kind, patriotic drone show beginning at 9 p.m. Produced by Sky Elements Drone Shows, the leading provider of drone light shows in the U.S., this sensory-friendly spectacle features 150 drones choreographed to stirring marches and iconic American music, providing a perfect celebration for all.

Catch the Spirit & Celebrate America is part of a full day of activities in the Brandon area, kicking off with the annual Fourth of July parade at 10 a.m. hosted by the Greater Brandon Action Network.

The Hillsborough County Fairgrounds are located at 215 Sydney Washer Rd. in Dover. Visit https://hillsboroughcountyfair.com/ for the complete schedule of events, contest applications and more information.

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