Tampa Bay celebrates the Fourth of July

Fireworks lit up the skies all across the region Thursday, celebrating Independence Day with a bang!

In Tampa, folks came out early to snag the perfect spot for the fireworks display.  But rainy weather kept the crowds thin a few hours before the show.

“We are risking the rain for the amazing fireworks,” said Callie Rivera from Temple Palms.

“We are so grateful that the rain stopped, number one,” Shari Robinson from Spring Hill said.  “But this is the best time to come down into the city, especially when you live as far out as we live, and just enjoy the people, the food, and of course the fireworks.”

Last year, the Independence Day celebration was held at Channelside, but a computer glitch cut the display short.

“It went off and then everyone thought the show was over, and then it started up, so everyone kinda ran back to their spots, and then it stopped again,” said Ray Perez from Wesley Chapel.

This time around, organizers were confident the fireworks would be spectacular.  For the first time, the Downtown Tampa Independence Day Fireworks Celebration was held at the Convention Center.

People were decked out in their best patriotic gear, food trucks and snack stands lined up, serving sweat treats, munchies and meals.

“Everything is great, I mean, you have tastes for every appetite and it just couldn’t get any better,” Robinson said.

Once the skies cleared, the crowds picked up.  Everyone was in a festive mood, and spending time with loved ones or friends.

“We are down here celebrating our freedom and independence, and we’re teaching the girls what that means,” said Rivera.

And ready for an unforgettable show.  The fireworks went off about five-minutes before 9PM and lasted around eight-minutes.