The downtown area of Tampa was illuminated by a spectacular fireworks display during the highly anticipated Boom by the Bay celebration. Hundreds of people gathered at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park on Saturday for this annual event.
The tradition of Boom by the Bay began in 2019. Attendees like Martez Kelly expressed their gratitude, as the event provided them with the opportunity to enjoy fireworks without the hassle of organizing and purchasing them individually. Kelly said, “Tampa took a big thing off my hands. I don’t have to worry about buying fireworks and going all out.”
Despite the scorching temperatures reaching the high 90s, many people braved the heat to come together and celebrate Independence Day.
Amariya Kelly, who attended the event with her two-year-old child, mentioned how being surrounded by other families made her feel a sense of normalcy.
She said, “Being around other families makes it normal being a mother with a two-year-old, young, with little kids. So I’m so excited about everything because we don’t get to do this often, and it’s nice to just get out of the house.”
The festivities kicked off with a pickleball tournament, attracting participants who were excited to compete. One first-time tournament player named Roger Reger shared his positive experience, saying, “I and my buddy decided to play.
We wanted something to do today. It was a beautiful day out and really well organized. We will definitely be back next year.” Reger proudly mentioned that he secured the second position in the tournament.
In addition to the pickleball tournament, attendees enjoyed various food truck options, face painting, and a sensory relief zone. The organizers revealed that it took months to plan and arrange the event.
Tony Mulkey, the Special Events Superintendent for the City of Tampa, explained, “It started after the conclusion of last year’s event, and then we just roll into the next year.”
One new addition this year was a pie-eating contest, which attracted fifteen participants. One of the winners, Tatiana Rosas, revealed that she had never tasted apple pie before. As someone visiting from Columbia, she aimed to win Busch Garden tickets.
Rosas shared her experience, stating, “I wanted to throw up every time! Like I was eating slow and calm, but I saw the other guys, and I wanted to throw up!” Despite her struggles, Rosas managed to finish the pie in ten minutes and still found it good, although she expressed her reluctance to eat anymore.
The celebration concluded with a magnificent light show over the riverfront park, marking another successful Boom by the Bay event.