By RUSTY PRAY

Go Correspondent

Rita Beach knows what to sing on Fourth of July.

“We live in greatest country in the world,” the Punta Gorda vocalist said. “So, I want to do the songs that celebrate that birthday.”

Beach is one of the musicians scheduled to perform during the annual Fourth of July Celebration at Fishermen’s Village in Punta Gorda. The Village will serve as a welcome mat for the swimmers finishing the traditional Freedom Swim across Charlotte Harbor; a family-friendly place for folks to join Beach in celebrating the country’s birthday and a great spot for viewing the Fourth of July fireworks, set to go off at 9 p.m. over the Peace River.

“Fishermen’s Village is looking forward to hosting our annual Fourth of July celebration,” said Kathy Burnam, marketing and events manager for Fishermen’s Village. “It’s always an exciting, fun filled day. The anticipation is keen for the Freedom Swim, the celebration of our nation’s independence, and the gathering of family and friends from near and far.”

Beach, who accompanies herself on keyboard and guitar, is scheduled to perform from noon to 4 p.m. near Good ‘Ole Days Coffee Café. Other musical acts include John Patti, who will perform vocals and steel drum music from noon to 4 p.m., followed by Paul Cottrell and Adam Mac, the Stray Dogs, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Center Court.

Beach, a native of Kentucky, shared her plans for performing at Fishermen’s Village on the Fourth of July, something she has done twice before.

“What I try to do is what I call Americana songs,” she said. “I’ll mix in patriotic songs, but I’ll also do ‘City of New Orleans,’ which tells the story of our country; “Abraham, Martin and John’; Neil Diamond’s ‘Coming to America.’

“I’ll do what I feel are songs appropriate to the day. If someone asks me to do a Patsy Cline song, I will. But I try to keep it in context for the holiday.”

She has her share of favorite patriotic songs, but when it comes to culling the list, to pointing out the one patriotic song visitors will surely hear from her, it’s “God Bless America.”

“Our country is so beautiful,” she said. “I just love that song. ‘God Bless the USA’ is also up there for me.”

The Freedom Swim, Charlotte County’s signature Fourth of July event, is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. and end at Harpoon Harry’s restaurant at the foot of Fishermen’s Village. The Green Hibiscus Trolley will provide transportation between Fishermen’s Village and Gilchrist Park — one of the swim’s starting points — from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The trolley ride is free — as are admission and parking at Fishermen’s Village.

King Fisher Fleet will be offering a Fireworks Cruise, departing at 7:30 p.m. and returning to Fishermen’s Village at 9:30 p.m. Tour Charlotte Harbor, watch the sunset and enjoy the fireworks display. Call 941-639-0969 for rates and reservations.

For more information, call 941-639-8721 or go to www.fishville.com.

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