Fireworks Over The Matanzas

St. Augustine's Great Independence Day Tradition

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

6:00pm - The All Star Orchestra

9:30pm - Fireworks Over the Matanzas

Holidays are built around traditions and few holidays have more great family traditions than the Fourth of July: great food, outdoor band concerts, a day with friends and family, and of course, fireworks! They all come together in a grand celebration and there’s no better place to celebrate Independence Day than in the Nation’s Oldest City.

First, There’s Music

Starting at 6:00pm one of the region’s most popular big bands, The All Star Orchestra, returns to the Plaza de la Constitución (click here for a map) for a two-hour show filled with Big Band and Swing music along with all the traditional patriotic favorites. The All Star Orchestra’s performance from the Plaza’s Gazebo area runs from 6:00pm until 8:00pm. The concert is free and those attending should bring lounge chairs for seating. 

Then there’s fireworks!

Fireworks over the Matanzas, the highlight of St. Augustine’s traditional July 4th activities has become synonymous with celebrating Independence Day in the Nation’s Oldest City. The spectacular aerial display of pyrotechnics high over Matanzas Bay begins at 9:30pm.

The 20-minute display is tightly choreographed to a stirring soundtrack of great popular music delivered over an extensive sound system transforming the entire Bayfront between the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and the Bridge of Lions into a theatre of sight and sound.

Enjoy downtown after the show

Many visitors attending Fireworks Over The Matanzas remain downtown at the conclusion of the show for a late dinner or to visit the shops that have learned the value of extended hours after the fireworks. Given the choice between spending time strolling downtown with friends and family or sitting in traffic wasting gas, more and more people are taking their time.

Keep it safe and legal

Those attending Fireworks Over The Matanzas should remember two important safety rules that will be strictly enforced:

• Alcohol is prohibited on public property, including parks, streets and sidewalks; and
• Possession of fireworks that explode or leave the ground is illegal and those found with such fireworks will be subject to $100 citation or arrest and will have prohibited fireworks confiscated.

Simply put: Have a great time with friends and family, but keep it safe and legal!

In the event medical assistance is needed, the St. Augustine Fire Department along with St. Johns County Emergency Medical Services will have a base station at the main entrance to the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and will have personnel roving on bicycles throughout the evening.

Getting in, parking, and getting out

St. Augustine’s annual Fireworks Over The Matanzas draws more people--and cars--into the downtown area than any other single event all year long. A growing trend in recent years has been the use of bicycles by those who live close to downtown or carpooling with friends to minimize the number of cars in need of a place to park.

Rerouting of traffic will begin at 8:30pm and will include closing of the Bridge of Lions, Avenida Menendez and South Castillo Drive to all vehicular traffic to accommodate the vast number of pedestrians. The best advice is to arrive early, explore the city, enjoy the show, and be patient during departure.

For those who do drive into the city, parking in city owned parking lots and on the street will be free on July 4th with the largest concentration of surface parking located on Granada Street behind the Lightner Building. The Historic Downtown Parking Facility located at the Visitors Information Center can accommodate 1,200 vehicles. The rate is $10 per car per entry. Also there will be no access to or from the parking lot of the Castillo de San Marcos National monument from 6:00pm until 11:00pm.

While St. Augustine’s Old World streets are a key component of its Old World charm, it is also a challenge when dispersing large numbers of vehicles, but the St. Augustine Police Department has refined a traffic plan that moves vehicles safely and as quickly as possible out of the downtown area following the fireworks. This plan includes having some streets made one-way out of the downtown to two lanes of King St. dedicated to west-bound traffic out of the downtown as well as both lanes of West Castillo Dr. Traffic signals in the downtown area, along Ponce de Leon Blvd. (U.S. 1), Anastasia Blvd (A1A), and State Roads 312, 207 and 16 will be monitored to facilitate traffic flow.


Fireworks Over The Matanzas

Traffic Summary

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Detours and street closures are

in effect from 8:30pm to 10:30pm

Street Closures:

  • The Bridge of Lions is closed to all vehicular and boat traffic
  • S. Castillo Dr. and Avenida Menendez north of the Bridge of Lions
  • Cathedral Pl. from Avenida Menendez to St. George St.
  • Orange St. from S. Castillo Dr. to Ponce de Leon Blvd. (U.S.1) EMERGENCY TRAFFIC ONLY


  • King St. will be two-way traffic. From Cordova St. westbound there will be two lanes of traffic open to facilitate the exit from downtown after the fireworks. All traffic westbound on King St. after the fireworks will be directed south on Ponce de Leon Blvd or west on King St.
  • King St. eastbound will turn north onto St. George St., then west onto Cathedral Pl. (detour routed to Cordova St. to King St.
  • Avenida Menendez northbound will turn west onto King St.
  • San Marco Ave. southbound will turn west onto W. Castillo Dr. to Ponce De Leon Blvd. (U.S.1)
    W. Castillo Dr. eastbound will turn north onto San Marco Ave.
  • Anastasia Blvd. westbound may not cross the Bridge of Lions
  • There will be a left turn from Ponce de Leon Blvd (U.S. 1) onto SR 16. It is strongly suggested that traffic use Lewis Speedway north of the city in order to go west.


  • Parking is available at the Historic Downtown Parking Facility at the Visitors Information Center. A Parking fee of $10.00 for all day is in effect
  • All other public parking throughout the city is available at no charge on July 4
  • There will be no access to or from the parking lot of the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument from 6:00pm to 11:00pm on July 4
  • Parking will be limited in the vicinity of the Plaza to facilitate traffic detours in the evening


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