PANAMA CITY BEACH — The Bay County Tourist Development Council kicks off its “Summer of Fun” on Sunday, a series of events through Labor Day that begins with a party and fireworks at Pier Park.
Pier Park’s self-titled “Star-Spangled Spectacular” begins the evening of free activities at 5 p.m. with a welcome by Panama City Beach Mayor Gayle Oberst and an F-15 flyover. The patriotic-themed day also will include a color guard presentation, the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the national anthem.
Kevin Hammond will perform the headline concert at 8 p.m. followed by a large fireworks display off the end of the city pier. In between will be other music, arts and crafts, games and a “kids zone” with crafts and character visits.
The “Summer of Fun” is an effort funded with $500,000 by the TDC to offer activities along the beach throughout the summer in an attempt to highlight off-sand activities and offset any potential financial effects from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The TDC calls it “a season-long, citywide beach celebration” that includes a series of Mardi Gras-style parades, concerts, festivals, outdoor movies and “random acts of appreciation” to visitors, such as free dinners or rounds of mini-golf.
“This is a still a work in progress,” said TDC Executive Director Dan Rowe, and could include a songwriter’s festival in September. “So stay tuned. We need to keep the fun going.”
Pier Park will continue its fun July 16 with a BeachFest Block Party, including festivities such as a countdown and thousands of beach balls dropping from the sky at 8 p.m.
A Bon Temps Roules Pirate Festival will bring a New Orleans-style parade through Panama City Beach on July 23-24 with concerts on Friday and a parade on Saturday with floats, masked performers and a street party.
A Festival on the Beach will take place Sunday, July 25, at Spinnaker Beach Club beginning at noon with music from the Bellamy Brothers, Tobacco Road, Boyd & Wood, American Honey, Phar Fletcher, Citizen Icon and Nothing Short of Pure.
On July 31 and Aug. 21 at By the Sea Resort’s gulf-front green next to Beachcomber by the Sea, the belly dancing troupe Gypsy Parvana is headlining two benefit performances and free workshops. A $5 donation to the National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund is encouraged but not required.
At the Aaron Bessant Amphitheater adjacent to Pier Park, free concerts will take place every Thursday through Aug. 12 with all styles of music, from reggae to jazz to classic rock. Also at Aaron Bessant Park, free family movies will take place under the stars every Tuesday through Labor Day.
Holiday weekend activities
• Lynn Haven Fourth of July Weekend Celebration: Parade at 9 a.m. today on Ohio Avenue (State 77); arts, crafts and food at Sheffield Park until 3 p.m. The Bay Wind Community Band performs at 7 p.m. at A.L. Kinsaul Park. The 45-piece concert band, under the direction of Fred Boswell, will play a wide variety of music, including patriotic marches, music from Broadway and movies and other familiar music. Antique Car Show before and during the concert. Vendors will offer food, soft drinks and small patriotic novelties for purchase. A portion of the proceeds go to support the Panama City Rescue Mission. Fireworks display at dusk at A.L. Kinsaul Park. Bring blankets, lawn chairs. More details: http://www.cityoflynnhaven.com
• Pier Park’s Third Annual Star-Spangled Spectacular: 5-10 p.m. Sunday at main stage at Pier Park Entertainment Quad Circle. At 5 p.m., welcome by Panama City Beach Mayor Gayle Oberst, followed by a patriotic color guard presentation and F-15 flyover. Kids Zone opens with family and children’s activities such as crafts, and character visits at Miracle Strip at Pier Park Pavilion. At 5:30 p.m., music by hard rock band Drama Club on main stage followed by 6:30 p.m. performance by The Panic Switch, a cover band performing popular rock hits from the ’80s, ’90s and today. Hottest Heroes contest at 7 p.m. Music by Kevin Hammond at 8 p.m., followed by fireworks at 9 p.m. Bring blankets and lawn chairs.
• Second Annual Fourth on Grand Lagoon: 7-11 p.m. Sunday at historic Grand Lagoon off Thomas Drive in Panama City Beach. Steve Wiggins performs at the Boatyard; fireworks at 9 p.m. in the center of lagoon with patriotic music.
• Salute to Freedom in Downtown Panama City: 2-10 p.m. Sunday at the Panama City Marina. Music by Jam Therapy from 2-3:30 p.m., Ground Zero from 4-5:30 p.m. and Todd Sparks and the Shrimpboat Cowboys from 6-8 p.m. Home Depot children’s area open from 2-4 p.m. F-15 flyover at 5 p.m., with fireworks over the bay at 9 p.m. More details: 850-785-2554