Thousands pack downtown Tampa to celebrate Fourth of July

After not being able to celebrate the Fourth of July last year, thousands of people packed downtown Tampa for the second "Boom by the Bay" celebration.

Despite a nearly hour-long delay in the fireworks finale due to safety concerns, most people were just happy to be able to spend a holiday with their friends and family.

I love it, because the grownups down to the children, we are all having a ball, it’s fantastic," said one Tampa resident.

In true Tampa form, the celebration started with a boat parade along the Hillsborough River. The city organized events in six separate locations, all throughout downtown.

"Fireworks at Armature Works, we're going to have them right outside Julian B Lane Park, we're going to have them at Curtis Hixon, down in the Convention Center Basin, Sparkman Wharf, and on Bayshore," explained Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

Castor says this is the fifth largest fireworks display in the country and one of the first massive gatherings since the COVID-19 outbreak.

"This is the first major event after COVID-19, now we have done very well in our community at addressing that and keeping all of our communities safe, however, we do have that one variant that is here, so if anyone has not been vaccinated and those are widely available, we would ask that you wear a mask."

Tampa officials explained the delay of the fireworks was to allow police and fire officials to address safety concerns.