Portland's July 4 celebration adds bicycle valet service

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PORTLAND — Food, fireworks, a funny man and the symphony are all on tap for this year’s Independence Day celebration on the Eastern Promenade.

The Stars and Stripes Spectacular will officially begin at 6 p.m. on Monday, July 4, with a performance by comedian Bob Marley.

The Portland Symphony Orchestra will perform at 7:40 p.m. and play throughout the fireworks show that starts at 9:20 p.m.

Fireworks may be viewed along the Eastern Prom, from Payson Park, Back Cove, Peaks Island and aboard boats on Casco Bay.

The city said in a press release it expects 50,000 people to attend the event. New to the festivities this year will be a free valet bicycle parking area near the cannon at Fort Allen Park, operating from 6-10:30 p.m.

The service, run by the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and the Portland Bicycle Community Meet-up, will allow cyclists to leave their bikes at the supervised area without the need for locks. Bicycle lights will be sold, too.

Although activities officially begin at 6 p.m., parking lot and street closures will begin well in advance.

The East End boat launch and Cutter Street, as well as Cutter Street parking lots, will be closed Sunday night at 10 p.m. and will not reopen until Tuesday, July 5, at 6:30 a.m. Boats may be launched for a fee at Portland Yacht Services, the Falmouth Town Landing on Route 88 and Bug Light Park in South Portland.

Also, the tennis courts, playground and ball fields on the East End will be closed on Monday at 7 a.m.

On Monday, East End parking restriction go into effect from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. No parking will be allowed on either side of the Eastern Prom, from Vesper Street to Washington Avenue, or on Mountfort Street.

Munjoy Hill will be closed to all traffic at 4 p.m. Handicapped parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis along Cutter Street and at Fort Allen Park. Clearly marked handicapped vehicles will be allowed to pass barricades until 6 p.m.

Also, the East End Trail between the Portland Water District pumping station and the East End beach bathhouse will be closed on Monday, starting at 7 a.m.

The event is privately funded by local businesses and organizations. For more information, log onto July4thPortland.org.

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @randybillings.