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July 4th Boat Parade

Thank you for celebrating July 4th with Friends of the Riverwalk!

2023 July 4th Boat Parade Winner


2023 July 4th Boat Parade, Water Ski Show & Blessing of the Fleet

Photos by: Tacy Briggs-Troncoso Photography & PamElla Photography

Thank you to our 2023 Sponsors!

We sincerely appreciate our event sponsors.  Without their support, the July 4th Boat Parade, Blessing of the Fleet, Poker Run and Water Ski Show would not be possible.

Stay tuned for 2024 details!

Celebrate July 4th with Friends of the Riverwalk as we host our July 4th Boat Parade, Water Ski Show, Blessing of the Fleet, and fireworks as part of the Star Spangled Banner festivities at Sparkman Wharf. The parade route will be similar to our holiday light boat parade but will include a Water Ski Show to kick off the celebration, a poker run and a blessing station.

Boats will be decorated in red, white and blue and compete for the most patriotic boat! We will also provide prize bags for all registered boaters. Check-in at all our Poker Run stops to be eligible for various raffle prizes!

Registration is required to participate in the boat parade. Spectators are free. VIP tickets are available for purchase to view the water ski show, parade and fireworks with seating, drinks and food! Umbrellas are allowed but outside chairs and coolers are prohibited. 
*Tickets and registration are nonrefundable. No reschedule date, the parade is rain or shine.

Poker Run

All boaters who successfully check in at all four poker run locations will be eligible for prizes! We will contact you the day after the boat parade to arrange for delivery of your prize!

Prizes include:

  • Splitsville Party
  • Jotoro Party
  • Light Haus Party 
  • Hotel Tampa Riverwalk gift card
  • Barrymore Hotel stay
  • Floridan Palace Hotel – 2-night stay
  • Splitsville gift card
  • Jotoro gift card
  • Ulele gift card
  •  Busch Gardens tickets
  • Florida Aquarium Tickets 
  • Greenwise gift basket

VIP Lounge

Watch the July 4th Boat Parade VIP style!  Sponsored by Splitsville and Florida Avenue Brewing and designed by Ashley.
Tuesday, 7/4/23
VIP Section at Sparkman Wharf on the wharf, will open at 5:45 PM

$50 per adult
$25 per child (12 and under ONLY)

Includes: Seating options on a private section of the wharf, heavy apps, 3 drink tickets & a great view of the parade and fireworks!
*VIP Tickets are non-refundable.


Parade Route & Viewing Locations

The parade begins in the Convention Center basin, travels to the Heights, and ends at Sparkman Wharf.  Public viewing locations include: 

  • Armature Works
  • Channel Drive
  • Convention Center
  • Curtis Hixon
  • Davis Island
  • Harbour Island
  • Sparkman Wharf
  • Water Works Park

See map below for viewing times!

Blessing of the Fleet Location

The Blessing of the Fleet is a tradition that began centuries ago in Mediterranean fishing communities. The practice began predominantly Catholic but is now practiced by all denominations as a blessing from the local clergy that is meant to ensure a safe and bountiful season.  Each boat will be festively decorated in hopes of bringing home a prize.  There will be one location at Sparkman Wharf for boats to receive a blessing.  Boats simply need to drive by the station to receive their blessing.