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Come early, stay late for Portland Fourth of July events

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Come early, stay late for Portland Fourth of July events

PORTLAND — This year's Independence Day celebration at the city's Eastern Promenade Park will be as American as, well, "American Pie."

Don McLean, who wrote and recorded the iconic 1971 pop hit, will perform with the Portland Symphony Orchestra in its annual "Patriotic Pops" concert in the park on Thursday, July 4. The free concert starts at 7:40 p.m., followed by the traditional fireworks display at 9:20 p.m.

The city expects 50,000 people to turn out for this year's music and fireworks show, according to City Hall spokeswoman Nicole Clegg. The rain date is Friday, July 5.

The theme of this year's concert will be President Abraham Lincoln, in honor of the 150th anniversary of two historic events that occurred during his presidency – the Emancipation Proclamation and the Battle of Gettysburg.

Earlier in the day, Mayor Michael Brennan will publicly recite the Gettysburg Address, and former state Rep. Herb Adams will read the Declaration of Independence. Both readings take place at noon in front of Longfellow House, 489 Congress St.

The city's July Fourth celebration also includes an ice cream festival from 3-6 p.m. at Eastern Promenade and Cutter Street. At $5 per ticket, the "No Kids Hungry – Scoops for Kids" festival allows participants to sample a wide variety of local ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato and sorbet.

Proceeds from the festival, sponsored by Mercy Hospital, go to prevent childhood hunger in Maine through the national Share Our Strength campaign.

Munjoy Hill will be closed to all traffic from 4-11 p.m., July 4. On-street parking restrictions begin at 7 a.m. that day, with some streets being closed at 11 a.m. Free valet bicycle parking, sponsored by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, will be available at Fort Allen Park from 6-10:30 p.m.

In addition, the East End Boat Launch, Cutter Street and the Cutter Street parking lots will be closed from 10 p.m., July 3, to 6:30 a.m., July 5. The park's tennis and basketball courts, playground and trails will be closed throughout July 4.

More details about July Fourth traffic restrictions and events are available at july4thportland.org.

William Hall can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or whall@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @hallwilliam4.