TAMPA, Fla — Tampa Mayor Jane Castor addressed the media on Monday as she shared her excitement for the Boom by the Bay festivities.
Mayor Castor also addressed the deadly mass shooting in Chicago as she said it didn't change any plans for Monday's festivities, she added that the city always plans for the worst.
Boom by the Bay kicked off with a good old fashion hot dog eating contest as more than a thousand people flocked to downtown Tampa to celebrate the Fourth of July.
"I'm born and raised in Tampa. I have my family with me. We’re all just really excited to celebrate," Cassandra Case, attending Boom by the Bay, said. "I'm really proud of our city. I think we’ve come a long way throughout all of the pandemic and everything and we’ve got great teams around us that bring a lot of support and love to our city."
It was a day that security across the Tampa Bay area had been preparing for.
"We do everything we can to be as least intrusive with security while ensuring that the events are safe," Mayor Jane Castor said.
In lieu of the deadly mass shooting in Chicago, the Castor said it's up to everyone to help keep each other safe.
"It's not just the responsibility of the first responders, it’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure the safety of our community. So if you see something that looks unusual, if you see something, say something," Castor added.
Security was on land and on water, both in uniform and not. Mayor Castor ensured people that the community is safe and encouraged everyone to celebrate independence day together.
"I would say we have come through a long time, hard times from COVID, to the mass shootings we’ve had, I would just say to keep the light. Keep the positivity going. It’s not going to last forever. If we all just work together and stay positive then I think change will come one day," Promiss Troche, attending Boom by the Bay, explained.
For many, Independence Day is tough to celebrate as this country dealt with yet another mass shooting.
But, in Tampa, event-goers told ABC Action news they're loving on their friends and family as they look toward brighter days.