'Spectacular' July Fourth promised in Portland

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PORTLAND — It’s time to strike up the band and light the fuse for the city’s annual Fourth of July “Stars and Stripes Spectacular” on the Eastern Promenade.

Along with the traditional Portland Symphony Orchestra Patriotic Pops concert  beginning Friday at 7:40 p.m., and the fireworks display beginning at 9:20 p.m., the privately funded celebration will also salute the bicentennial of the composition of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

The PSO concert will feature guest artist Suzanne Neal. Kelsey Walk, winner of a contest on WHOM, will sing of the national anthem to open the concert.

About 50,000 visitors are expected this year. They can make it a day in the park, since vendors begin selling food around noon, when former state Rep. Herb Adams, D-Portland, will read The Declaration of Independence.

From 4-7 p.m., the fourth annual No Kids Hungry – Scoops for Kids Ice Cream Festival will take place at Cutter Street and Eastern Promenade. The festival benefits Share our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign with a $5 all-you-can-eat tasting of Maine-made ice creams.

The “Stars and Stripes Spectacular” also includes a just-added appearance by the Boston-area Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes & Drums Corps. The group will play outside City Hall at 5:30 p.m. and then march up Congress Street to the Eastern Promenade.

City staff will be at the park to answer questions, and extra recycling bins will be available. Portable toilets will be open at East End Beach. Visitors are asked to throw away their trash or take it with them when they leave the park.

Other city viewing areas for the fireworks include Back Cove and Payson Park, Peaks Island, or aboard a boat on Casco Bay. Rain date for the events is Saturday, July 5.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Sidebar Elements

Fourth of July street closures, parking restrictions

Munjoy Hill in Portland will be closed to all vehicle traffic at 4 p.m. Friday, July 4.

Handicapped parking will be available on a first-come, first-served basis along Cutter Street and Fort Allen Park. Clearly marked handicapped vehicles will be allowed to pass the barricades until 6 p.m. Drivers must approach Cutter Street from Fore Street to enter.

The East End Boat launch and Cutter Street (including parking lots) will be closed from 10 p.m., July 3, to 6:30 a.m., July 5 (or 6:30 a.m., July 6, if a rain date is necessary) .

On-street parking will be restricted for the following streets from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 4 (or 11 p.m. July 5 in case of a postponement for rain):

• Eastern Promenade (both sides) from Morning Street to Washington Avenue.

• Fort Allen Park (both sides).

• Walnut Street from the Eastern Promenade to Washington Avenue.

• Mountfort Street from Congress to Fore streets (both sides).

Streets closed July 4 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (11 p.m. July 5 in case of rain date):

• Eastern Promenade from Morning to Walnut streets.

• Wilson, Moody, Congress and Turner streets from Morning Street to Eastern Promenade.

• Quebec and Melbourne streets from Emerson Street to Eastern Promenade.

• Montreal and Walnut streets from Willis Street to Eastern Promenade.

The city Public Services Department will be collecting curbside trash and recyclable items on July 4.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.