After 25 years of marriage, a couple celebrates a silver anniversary. After 50 years, it's a golden anniversary. So what is it when it's 238 years?
It's Independence Day 2014, the Fourth of July when the American people and the nation as an idea -- some call it an ongoing experiment -- mark the United States' publication of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain in 1776.
While the Keys might be among the smallest places around both in terms of geography and population, there are plenty of ways to celebrate from Key West to Key Largo. Let's work our way from the end of the line up to Key Largo.
First up is what's called the Fourth of July Keep Calm and Stroll on the Harbor Walk Bar Stroll, put together by Rick Dostal. Basically, it's just what it says -- a bar stroll through Key West Harbor bars.
There are 225 tickets available for $25 apiece. That gets you a commemorative T-shirt and a ticket for a drink or food item at each of the following watering holes in succession starting at 2 p.m.: Sunset Pier at the Ocean Key House, Island Dogs, the Rum Barrel, Commodore's Boat House Bar & Grill, Kermit's Key Lime Shoppe, the Schooner Wharf Bar, B.O'S Fishwagon, Turtle Kralls and, finally, Dante's.
The first 40 participants that can prove they're active military get their tickets for free. Just show your military ID at each place. To find out more, go to www.4thofjulybarstroll.com.
The Visiting Nurse Association/Hospice of the Florida Keys' annual Fourth of July Picnic, which raises money for the home-health agency, is at the Casa Marina, 1500 Reynolds St., Key West.
Doors open at 5 p.m. A typical barbecue meal is included in the admission cost of $25 for adults and $10 children ages 4 to 12; entry without a meal is $10. For $125, you can get seats on the resort's beach with a dinner buffet, wait service and a cash bar. Free watermelon, popcorn and soda are offered with all admissions.
Radio-show host Bill Hoebee emcees the festivities, which include live music, games, raffles and the largest silent auction in Key West.
Earl Bud Lee, an award-winning Nashville singer/songwriter ("Friends in Low Places," "One Night at a Time"), will perform with Skipper Kripitz and a house band to close the entertainment, followed by a fireworks display provided by the Rotary Club of Key West.
Tickets are available at the Casa Marina the day of the event from noon until 4 p.m. Advance tickets can be purchased at 1319 William St. or by calling 294-8812 or going to www.vnahospicekeys.org.
Big Pine Key
The Big Pine & Lower Keys Rotary Club is set to host its annual July 4 party and fireworks at the Big Pine Community Park, 31009 Atlantis Road. Go down to the end of Sands Road on the bayside; turn at Dion's Quik Mart at mile marker 31.5.
Co-sponsored by the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, activities include live music headlined by the Ray West Band, food, beverages, games and other activities for adults and kids.
Gates open at 5 p.m. and the fireworks are set to go off at nightfall, or about 9 p.m. Admission is free, but no coolers, pets or personal fireworks are allowed. If it rains, the fun is rescheduled for July 5. For information, call 872-2411.
The city of Marathon and the Marathon Rotary team for their annual picnic and fireworks at Sombrero Beach, at the end of Sombrero Beach Road, mile marker 50 oceanside.
Activities start at 10 a.m. with a parade heading to the beach from Marathon High School, also on Sombrero Beach Road. Opening ceremonies take place at 11:30 at the beach with a presentation of colors.
Admission is free to the beach -- get there by car, bike, feet or boat. The Rotary will sell food and beverages; the music includes performances from Dan Sullivan, John Bartus and Storm Watch, and the Myles Mancuso Band.
Fireworks go off at 9 p.m. accompanied by patriotic music over radio station 98.7-FM. If it rains, the fireworks will be postponed until 9 p.m. July 5.
Feel free to bring food and drinks, but glass bottles are not allowed. For more, call 743-5417.
The Spirit of Islamorada July 4 celebration is to be held at Founders Park, mile marker 87 bayside on Plantation Key.
Hosted by the village of Islamorada and the Upper Keys Rotary, the event features entertainment and food and drinks for all -- including dogs. The party runs from 6 to 9:30 p.m., followed by a fireworks show. Admission of $10 will be charged to nonresidents.
For information, call Founders Park at 853-1685.
The 39th annual Fourth of July parade co-sponsored by the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce and The Reporter is themed "Salute to Patriots of Liberty."
The parade gets rolling at 10 a.m. from the parking lot at Anthony's Clothing Store, mile marker 98.2 on the center of U.S. 1 in Key Largo, and ends at mile marker 100. Awards are to be presented for most original entry, most beautiful and best portrayal of the theme.
A free-admission community picnic with barbecue, vendor booths, kids' games, live music and a nighttime fireworks show follow the parade at the former Rowell's Marina, mile marker 104.5 bayside. Parking is free.
For more information, call 451-1414 (picnic) or 852-3216 (parade).
In Key Largo, alongside Florida around mile marker 104 is where the Independence Day action happens.
An annual fireworks display over Blackwater Sound has great viewing spots from both the water and land. The show is scheduled for 10 p.m., weather permitting.
The best bayside seating is at Sundowners and Jimmy Johnson's Big Chill restaurants, the Caribbean Club and the Marriott Key Largo Bay Resort. Reservations are suggested because seating fills early.