It’s almost here, the 4th of July, that quintessential American holiday celebrating the nation’s independence from Great Britain. For most of us, that means visits to the beach, cookouts in the backyard (with the obligatory cake decorated like an American flag), parades and yes, of course, firework displays.
New England 4th of July Flag Cake
For as long as Americans can remember, we have celebrated the 4th of July with fireworks and parades, but have you ever wondered why?
John Adams, Massachusetts native, founding father, and second president paved the way for how we would celebrate Independence Day. In a letter dated July 3, 1776 he wrote to his wife, Abigail, saying that the signing of the Declaration of Independence should be “commemorated with “Pomp and Parade … Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more” was how he thought the event should be honored. The first celebration took place in Philadelphia on July 4th 1777 and so began a tradition that has lasted more than 240 years.
So, now that you know a bit about the reasons we celebrate, we thought we would share a list of local 4th of July events, parades, picnics, celebrations and firework displays.
Acton – NARA park is home to so many great summer events, but they kick off the summer with a bang (literally). From 3 to 6, you can enjoy unlimited games, bounce houses, waterslides, and more for only $10. From 7 to 9:30 enjoy a free concert and at 9:30 the fun culminates with a spectacular fireworks display!
Spectacular Fireworks Display at NARA Park in Acton
Boston – If you haven’t experienced the 4th of July in Boston, this might be the year. The legendary Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular is a New England tradition that includes a concert at the Half Shell by the Boston Pops, followed by an amazing firework display choreographed with music over the Charles River.
The Red Sox play against the Washington Nationals (how fitting) and the Boston Harbor Fest both take place in the city that played such an important role in our independence.
4th of July Fireworks Display over the Charles River in Boston
Burlington – The annual 4th of July parade starts at 11am on Cambridge Street continuing to Winn Street, ending at Memorial School. There will be a free band concert on the common starting at 6pm, followed by a great firework display at 9pm.
Chelmsford – This family-friendly town kicks off the celebrations with a 4th of July parade that dates back more than 50 years. One of the state’s biggest and much anticipated parades, spectators will enjoy marching bands, floats, veterans and dignitaries, the lights and sounds of firetrucks and emergency vehicles and minuteman.
Chairs lined up on the parade route in Chelmsford.
Concord – What better way to celebrate the 4th of July than at one of the birth places of the American Revolution. Nearby Concord has a number of activities commemorating America’s independence. At 1pm you can join park rangers at The Old North Bridge for a live reading of the Declaration of Independence.
The annual picnic in the park is held at Emerson Field and includes a children’s tricycle and bicycle parade, games, music and fun!
Reading of the Declaration of Independence at The Old North Bridge in Concord
Groton – Don’t miss Groton’s 4th of July fireworks beginning at dusk at the Town Fields behind the library.
Wilmington – The fun never seems to stop at their annual 4th of July celebration. The activities start on Friday, June 29th and finish on July 2nd with a carnival, contests, doll carriage and bike parade, a magic show and more.
Wakefield – The annual parade steps off at 4:30 on North Avenue and travels to Main Street to the center of town. With over 20 bands, floats, dignitaries, and local groups all marching in this family-friendly event.