Scenes from Winter Park’s Independence Day Events

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Fourth of July temperatures were soaring but the heat didn’t dampen spirits in downtown Winter Park as more than 3,000 participants gathered for the 2024 Watermelon 5K. The sold-out event, presented by Track Shack and AdventHealth, has become a local tradition with a national draw and ranks among Central Florida’s most popular 5K events.

The 3.1-mile race kicked off at 7:30 a.m. and was just the start of the Independence Day festivities. A watermelon eating contest was held in Central Park and young athletes competed in a kids’ run before the start of the city’s 29th Annual 4th of July Celebration. The Central Park Main Stage featured performances by School of Rock Winter Park and the Bach Festival Choir and Brass Ensemble, a Kids’ Zone offered games and the Kona Ice truck, and a bicycle parade made its way down Park Avenue. Events ran until 11 a.m. and included free refreshments.

See the photo gallery for highlights and check the official 5K results on

The day began just after sunrise with more than 3,000 runners and walkers making their way through the 3.1-mile Watermelon 5K course.
Spectators took any available vantage point to watch the event and cheer on family and friends.
Christina Wilson soars through the 5K with friends from the Apopa Run Club.
Pedro Zapata, with a time of 16:01, was the first to cross the finish line.
Runners give their all in the final seconds of the race.
Chris Retzer of Park City, Utah ran his first Watermelon 5K while enjoying his Florida vacation.
Post-race requirements are water, wet towels, and a shady spot.
Runners beat the heat any way they could.
Kelly’s Ice Cream kept the crowd cool with free scoops.
Rylie Asa, Olivia Hunt, and Megan Hunt grab a post-race selfie.
It wouldn’t be the Watermelon 5K without the watermelon eating contest.
Alyssa Daquila celebrates after eating her way to victory in the women’s division.
Chuck Nadd goes for glory as he earns the men’s trophy, and a few napkins.
School of Rock Winter Park performs classic rock tunes on the Main Stage.
Last minute instruction and encouragement before the start of the kids’ run.
And they’re off!
Competition was intense in three categories: 4 years & under, 5-6 years, and 6 years & over.
Skills were tested at the midway games that filled the Kids’ Zone in the West Meadow.
A little mutual admiration before the start of the bicycle parade.
Kids could bring their pre-decorated bikes or customize on-site with free accessories.
Some patriotic pedaling to end a morning of celebration.
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