The favorite ‘Independence Day’ event for thousands from around the borough is happening soon at Orchard Beach.
Event planners expect 10,000 people to come out for what is the borough’s largest Fourth of July Celebration: New York Salutes America Fireworks Extravaganza on Thursday, June 29 at Orchard Beach.
The free, annual event is hosted this year by Senator Jeff Klein and Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and includes live entertainment that starts at 7 p.m., with fireworks at 9 p.m.
“The annual ‘New York Salutes America’ boardwalk festival and fireworks extravaganza at Orchard Beach is one of our jewel events, where people from all over the city can experience the best the Bronx has to offer,” said Diaz.
He added: “We are expecting over 10,000 people to attend our festivities and join myself and Senator Klein as we kick-off our city’s Independence Day celebrations and salute America.”
The extravaganza, which in addition to live music also features an empanada eating contest, is a special time that brings Bronxites together to celebrate our country’s independence, stated Klein.
“I’m proud to continuously co-host this festive event, where we as a community can celebrate our nation’s freedom and remember the brave sacrifices made by our servicemen and servicewomen to make this independence possible,” said Klein.
The fireworks musical score will feature a mix of music, from a wide range of genres such as doo wop, hip hop, classic rock, swing, funk, latin, soul and pop, according to the borough president’s office.
“Whether it’s Bronxites such as Dion, Steven Tyler, Anthrax, Grand Master Flash, Ace Frehley, Prince Royce or Jennifer Lopez, the Bronx has a flavor for your ear regardless of your musical tastes,” said the borough president in a statement.
A number of borough-based bands are also expected to perform live at the Orchard Beach band shell.
The empanada eating contest is being held for the third time, and will feature mini-empanadas from Havana Café.
The eating competition will feature a men’s contest and a woman’s contest, with the participants chosen prior to the event from the crowd on the beach.
Contest winners will take home a ‘Bronx Prize Package,’ and they must be over 18-years-old to participate.
Fireworks By Grucci will provide the fireworks for the event.
An attendee of the event every year, Bob Bieder, told the Bronx Times that he looks forward to the event because he and others get to see people they know who are from all over the borough.
Sponsors for the event, as of press time, include Air BnB, Anheuser Busch, Capital Shield and Bronx Tax Man, Con Edison, Crown Monuments, Empire City Casino, G.A.L. Manufacturing Corp, Manhattan Beer, Mercy College, Pascap and Schulyer Hill Funeral Home.
The first host of the event was the late Senator Guy Velella.