Heroes don’t always wear capes. More often than not, they wear uniforms and combat boots, carrying huge supply packs on their backs and voluntarily going places most of us would never dare go. They are the men and women of our military, giving their all to defend our freedom. This Veterans Day, show your thanks by checking out one of these fantastic local celebrations.

Tampa Bay Veterans Day Parade
Hanley Road from Barry Road to Paula Drive
Town ‘n Country, FL 33615
(813) 995-7611

Date: Nov. 9, 2013

Few things are more festive or fun than a parade. This annual celebration is now in its 20th year and includes over 60 marching and rolling units, such as the Town ‘n’ Country Youth Council and local Cub Scout groups. Each year, there is a banner and poster contest, as well as awards given out for the most creative floats. Last year’s crowd was estimated at 25,000 — you don’t want to miss this salute to the troops.

Related: Best Veterans Day Free Meals Around Tampa Bay For Vets, Military

Dali Museum Veterans Day Celebration
One Dali Blvd.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 823-3767

Date: Nov. 11, 2013

The Dali Museum will be honoring veterans all day long from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in its annual ceremony. The ceremony is free for anyone to attend and admission to the museum exhibits is free for veterans and discounted for their families. There will be a ceremony at 11 a.m. to hang a “wish of thanks” on the Dali Wish Tree in the Avant gardens. There will also be a performance by the Exhibition Drill Team of Admiral Farragut Academy of St. Petersburg.

Bay Pines VA Veterans Day Ceremony 
10000 Bay Pines Blvd.
North Bay Pines, FL 33744
(727) 398-6661

Date: Nov. 11, 2013

Bay Pines extends an invitation to all veterans, their families and the community to thank and honor these American heroes beginning at 10 a.m. on November 11th. The ceremony will include guest speakers from the VA Medical Center and Florida Department of Veterans Affairs as well as other members of the community. There will also be a performance of TAPS, a firing salute and a military vehicle display. Local high school music groups will also be present to perform various musical selections. The ceremony will be held outdoors, so dress appropriately for the weather.

Related: Remember Veterans Day: Classic War Movies Of Heroism And Sacrifice

49th Annual Veterans Day Tribute
Veterans Memorial Park
3602 N. US Highway 301
Tampa, FL 33619
(813) 220-7246

Date: Nov. 11, 2013

This tribute includes a little bit of everything — a presentation of the colors, a performance of the National Anthem, drill demonstrations, an empty chair ceremony for POW and MIA soldiers, a rifle salute and more. Over 100 JROTC Cadets from local high schools will be present to perform drill demonstrations and a Pass in Review, and will also join a color guard from the MacDill AFB Honor Guard in the presentation of colors. The local chapters of the Gold Star Mothers, Gold Star Wives and Gold Star Families of America will be performing a wreath tribute, and the Edwin Porterfield Award and Keeping the American Patriotic Spirit Alive Awards will be presented. To honor our fallen veterans, the Riverview Detachment of the Marine Corps League will perform a rifle salute and the playing of TAPS.

Serenity Meadows Veterans Tribute 
Serenity Meadows Memorial Park
6919 Providence Road
Riverview, FL 33578
(813) 677-9494

Date: Nov. 12, 2013

Serenity Meadows hosts a Veterans Day program every year, which will be on November 12 beginning at 8:30 a.m. this year. Families and community members gather at this beautiful park to honor and remember those who have served their country with a flag ceremony, music and words from guest speakers. This event is free to the community.

Related: Veterans Day Photo Galleries

Amanda Mole has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil and cooking since she was tall enough to reach the stove. She believes that food provides more than just vital nutrients: it is an irreplaceable part of countless cultural and social activities. As a Tampa Bay resident for the past 21 years, she is well acquainted with the incredibly diverse range of restaurants, bars, and food festivals that the area has to offer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.