You Will Inhale

Lighting up inside your own home in fabulous smoke-free Florida is still legal, but be forewarned: It's only a matter of time. Public puffing on cancer sticks indoors has already been banned. Who knows what'll be next? Thank goodness for Independence (ha!) Day, when flashy fireworks exhibitions offer one of the few opportunities to inhale copious amounts of smoke outdoors among the health-conscious masses. Chances to breathe temporarily polluted air will be abundant all over the county. Miami, Coral Gables, North Miami, Coconut Grove, and Miami Beach will throw their usual bashes. But if you don't live there, you just have to get in your car and go. Remember to roll down the windows for maximum carcinogenic effect.

At 11:00 a.m. the city of Key Biscayne (Crandon Boulevard and Harbor Drive; 305-361-8059) puts on its 45th annual parade. Expect marching bands, junkanoo ensembles, stilt walkers, and floats that will vie for awards such as Most Patriotic and Most Creative. No fireworks will be ignited, but the 93rd Fighter Squadron of F-16s will kick off the festivities with a flyover.

One hour later the town of Surfside lets kids and adults whoop it up by and in the pool at the Surfside Community Center (9301 Collins Ave.; 305-866-3635). A band appropriately named Surefire entertains during the day. The Danger Drew Band takes over in the evening, which holds the promise of a Zambelli Internationale fireworks show.

For a real old-fashioned Fourth of July, grab the whole family and head to -- of all places -- Flagler Greyhound Track (NW Seventh Street and 37th Avenue; 305-649-3000), where the first 500 arrivals for an 8:00 p.m. jazz concert (in their air-conditioned, smoke-free sports bar) get a free American Flag Flagler T-shirt. What could be more American than picking up free stuff? Uh, gambling and stuffing your face, which you can also do at the track. Place bets and watch the doggies run, while scarfing 50-cent hot dogs and other specially priced goodies like ice cream, sodas, and watermelon. If your stomach yearns for more, an all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet for $9.95 beckons all weekend.

Known among its citizens as the City of Progress, the City of Hialeah (Milander Park, 4700 Palm Ave.; 305-687-2661) plans to outdo all its neighbors beginning at 5:00 p.m. with an extravaganza featuring rides, games, food, drink, and live musical entertainment by the Goodlet Park Singers and Dancers, TMarie, the Mile High Band, and Continental Brass. Zambelli Internationale will provide the fireworks, but, always the maverick, Hialeah will offer something more: a laser light show from Orlando-based Chameleon Productions, which counts more than twenty years in the laser light show biz. Sure, lasers are pretty, and they can morph into all sorts of cool designs. Just one problem: They don't emit a whit of smoke. Shhh, don't make a fuss. If the State of Florida finds out, public fireworks displays may follow on the chopping block. Happy Independence Day!

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Nina Korman
Contact: Nina Korman