The city of Leesburg once again will celebrate the Fourth of July at Venetian Gardens, but visitors should be aware that parking on Ski Beach will be limited because of ongoing construction of new amenities in that area.
Some of the Ski Beach enhancements are complete, but work continues on new boat ramps, restrooms, and portions of the paved road, a news release states.
The construction has altered parking plans for the annual holiday celebration, which starts at 6pm Wednesday, July 4, at the gardens, 201 E. Dixie Ave. on the north shore of Lake Harris. Admission is free, and the festival includes live music by Justin Heet and family activities. Food vendors will be serving hot dogs, hamburgers, funnel cakes, and more, and visitors can enjoy free ice cream while it lasts beginning at 7pm. A Kids’ Play Zone will include inflatables, slides, bounce houses, face painting, and a photo booth.
The Zambelli Fireworks Co. will stage Lake County’s largest fireworks display, choreographed to music beginning at 9:15pm. A boat tailgate party will be located between Monkey Island and the boat ramp.
Carpooling is recommended for visitors wishing to utilize the Ski Beach location to watch the fireworks. Some parking will be available on the north and south ends of Ski Beach, and those entrances will be marked. However, vehicles will not be able to travel from one end of the beach to the other.
The center section surrounding the boat ramp site will be cordoned off, reducing the parking space on Ski Beach to about one-fourth of what was open in past years, according to the release. City staff is working closely with the contractor to ensure that all necessary safety precautions are taken around the construction zone.
Drivers are encouraged to use convenient parking sites north of Dixie Avenue including the ballfield at the corner of Canal Street and Dixie, the lot by the shuffleboard courts on 2nd Street as well as the LRMC Medical Plaza on the south side of Dixie. Space also will be available throughout downtown Leesburg, including the parking garage at Main and Palmetto streets.
The Leesburg Police Department asks that all pedestrians cross Dixie Avenue only at the traffic lights at Canal Street or 9th Street. Crossing guards will be stationed at these intersections.
Police will change traffic flow on Lakeshore Drive, 9th Street, and Venetian Gardens Drive to one-way heading north towards Dixie Avenue at the conclusion of the festivities to allow for more efficient exiting, the release states.
“Even with the ongoing work at Ski Beach, we’re going to have another great event,” City Manager Al Minner says in the release. “Our staff and the contractor are working hard to make Ski Beach usable, and there is plenty of parking in other locations, so everyone should plan to come down and enjoy the day.”
The day’s events begin with free swimming at the Venetian Gardens pool from 11am-6pm, and the splash pad will be open from 10am-6pm with the standard admission fee of $2.
The Leesburg Lightning—two-time champions of the Florida Collegiate Summer League—continue a record-breaking season against the Sanford River Rats at 5:30pm at Pat Thomas Stadium. Admission is free. The stadium also provides ideal seating to watch the fireworks.
For more information about the festivities, visit leesburgpartnership.com.