Plan ahead for viewing Portland's Independence Day celebration

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PORTLAND — The city’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration this year will be accompanied by the Portland Symphony Orchestra performing Patriotic Pops.

Those planning to watch the show from the water, though, should be aware that the East End boat launch will be closed from 10 p.m.  Saturday, July 3, to 6:30 a.m. Monday, July 5. Cutter Street and the parking lots will also be closed.

The city is advising boaters to use other nearby public launches. The launch fee at Portland Yacht Services is $35, or $50 with parking. Falmouth Town Landing charges $10 for non-residents and Bug Light launch in South Portland is $6 for non-residents.

City Hall spokeswoman Nicole Clegg said the closures are necessary because crews need to set up the orchestra’s performance space.

“Logistically, it just doesn’t work,” Clegg said. “There would be nowhere to turn a trailer around.”

People planning to watch the fireworks from the Eastern Promenade should know that Munjoy Hill will be closed to traffic starting at 4 p.m. Sunday. People wishing to take advantage of the handicapped parking along Cutter Street and at Fort Allen Park need to be there by 6 p.m.

Vendors selling food and souvenirs are expected to set up along the Prom starting in the late afternoon, and public restrooms will be available at East End Beach, Turner Street and at the top of Cutter Street.

Some other closures to note: the East End Trail between the pump station and the East End bathhouse will be closed starting at 7 a.m. on Sunday. The tennis courts, ball fields and playground will also be closed starting at 7 a.m.

Those recreational spaces are in the line of fire from the fireworks, Clegg said.

Spectators are also being asked to leave their dogs at home.

In addition to viewing areas along the prom, the Peaks Island ferry landing and Payson Park should offer good views.

The orchestra is scheduled to begin performing at 7:40 p.m. and the fireworks show, by Atlas Pyrotechnics, begins at 9:20 p.m.

This year’s Fourth of July celebration is sponsored by several businesses that stepped forward after the city in the spring announced it would not fund the annual event because of budget constraints. The Maine Red Claws, Quirk Chevrolet, Wright Express and Portland Press Herald are this year’s lead sponsors, according to the city.

For more information, go to The rain date is Monday, July 5.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or