BRANDON — The Brandon Blast returns for an 11th year to Westfield Brandon, where family- fun activities leading up to the Fourth of July fireworks display will be held inside the mall for the first time ever.
That’s because over the past few years, the weather has been dicey at best, drying up in time for the fireworks but not in time to avoid muddy, rain-soaked grounds, said Dawn Arvidson, Westfield Brandon’s marketing director.
Event organizers opted to bring the pre-fireworks activities inside, where air conditioning makes it a “win-win situation,” Arvidson added.
“We want to make it a family fun day,” she said of the event. “This year it will be even nicer. People can come inside the mall and enjoy the activities” before heading out to see the fireworks.
Westfield Brandon on the Fourth of July will be open for regular hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Then, from 6 to 9 p.m., the Brandon Blast gets underway. Restaurants and the food court will remain open.
Live music is scheduled throughout, with Kim Betts and the Gamble Creek Band set to perform from 5 to 7:30 p.m. From 8 to 9 p.m., Drake Austin, a 17-year-old from Lakewood Ranch, near Sarasota, is set to perform. At 6:30 p.m., Austin will be autographing his “Back to Cool” CD for the first 200 guests, who will receive the CD for free.
Indoor activities, including the music, face- painting, balloon artists and a free magic show by the Amazing Steiner, will be held from the carousel down to the food court. Attendees can register for a chance to win a $100 Westfield Brandon gift certificate.
Westfield Brandon community partners, including i9 Sports and Busch Gardens, will be on hand to run activities as well.
The fireworks start at 9 p.m. They’ll be launched from “the same location as always, (in the grass field) off from the restaurant courtyard,” Arvidson said. “It’s a substantial show and the only one in Brandon.”
If the Brandon Blast gets rained out, it will be held Saturday, Arvidson said.