PANAMA CITY-- If you're looking for something with flare to do this 4th of July, you may think about heading to the Panama City Marina this weekend. It's the city's biggest celebration of the season, and city officials are expecting this year to be really special.
"We absolutely love it," Panama City Resident Wendy Thornton said. "Not only do we get the light show here, but we can also look out where the pier is and the beach area and after the light show's over, the fireworks start."
And for years now the Panama City Marina has been the go to spot to celebrate.
"This is the peak of the Marina season, and it's something that we plan year round, and it's like the ground is vibrating, everyone around is just so excited," Panama City Marina Director Stan Jones said.
The event has lots of vendors, food, music, and activities for families, but the highlight is the $25,000 firework display.
"The 4th of July celebration in Panama City is spectacular," John Poppell, a Panama City resident, said. "They do a great job with the fireworks, and this marina has been upgraded to the point that it is a beautiful place to come."
Jones says the city has finally finished beautifying the marina's entrance, which he says will make this year's event even better.
"It's complete and it's gorgeous," Jones said. "I'm so excited to show it to our community."
Jones tells us that in the past, their 4th of July celebrations have drawn crowds of up to 10,000 people and that means these parking lots can get pretty packed, but he says thanks to the recent marina redevelopment project, they're going to have more parking spots than ever before.
"We added parking all along Government Street on the street," Jones said. "We have a nice large lot right behind us and also we kept quite a bit of parking behind the old library and city hall."
Locals say they think this will make a huge difference, because parking has caused some headaches in the past.
"My parents come down in an RV, and it was just hard to find a place to park it and stay on our boat and this year with all the new expansions then it's gonna be I think a lot better," Thornton said.
"Parking is a critical issue down here. It's a small area and it gets crowded," Poppell said.
The event starts at 3 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The firework show will begin at 8:30 p.m.