JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- Nothing says 4th of July to Fernando Meza like some family, flags, and fireworks. For the last decade, he's been coming to Jacksonville Beach to soak up the sky show from the sand.
"It's a great way to celebrate America's birthday," he said.
Jax Beach City Council City Council members voted not to pay for fireworks last year. They cited safety concerns as the main reason for canceling the annual display.
Fast-forward to 2013, and the show is back on, but safety remains a big question.
Videos of fights from Memorial Day weekend went viral as 10 to 15 suspected gang members battled at the beach. The brutal battle sent one to a hospital with a dislocated shoulder.
"A bad stigma that we have gotten since Memorial Day," said Meza. "Some people have their doubts about coming here."
Crowds are expected to exceed 100,000, and with that in mind, beach police are beefing up security.
Action News has learned the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, St. Johns County and St. Augustine will be on patrol at every perimeter in downtown Jacksonville Beach.
"It's a family event. We We want the families to come out and have a good time," said Jax Beach Fire Marshal Scott Sciotto.
Even though the men responsible for the brutal beach beat-down are still free, Meza is confident this patriotic holiday will have a different ending.
"It's going to be a good environment," said Meza. "It's not going to be one of those where you're going to have to look over your shoulder."
The family-friendly festivities for the holiday kick off at the Seawalk Pavilion around 4 p.m. on July 4.