Best Bets: Celebrating the Fourth of July North of Boston
NORTH OF BOSTON – On the eve of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail about the momentous occasion. He noted that it should be commemorated “with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”
The first official fireworks display honoring our nation’s independence was held on July 4, 1777 in Philadelphia. Grand fireworks displays have remained a long-standing tradition in American culture with spectacular shows each and every Fourth of July .
Numerous celebrations and fireworks displays will be held North of Boston in the coming days. Celebrations are listed in alphabetical order, and a complete list of fireworks can be found at the bottom of the post. If any information about a celebration or fireworks display is inaccurate, please e-mail email@example.com with the appropriate information for a correction. All information was taken from websites, press releases, and other sources as of Thursday, June 30, 2016.
Our Favorite Fourth of July Celebrations
Beverly Farms (Mon. July 4): This semi-exclusive event includes numerous activities at West Beach that embody the holiday including traditional races and games with an evening that concludes with a fantastic fireworks display at 9PM. Please remember that you must be a West Beach member to participate in events before 5PM. You may enter the beach after 5PM by purchasing a wristband for $15 at the gate. There are absolutely no alcoholic beverages are allowed with all containers and coolers removed from the beach by 7PM. To download a full schedule of events, visit www.beverlyfarms.org/Schedule-2016.pdf
Boston (Mon. July 4): Everyone should experience an Independence celebration with the Boston Pops and the Annual Fireworks Spectacular on the Esplanade. This year’s event will feature Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas who are currently on tour nationwide and will conclude with one of the best fireworks displays in the country, lighting up the sky over the Charles River and the enthusiastic crowd at the Esplanade. Visit for more details about this well-attended event. Don’t forget the city’s annual Harborfest is also taking place all weekend long with events held from July 1 through July 4, including the annual opening ceremony at Faneuil Hall, historical re-enactments, Freedom Trail walks, Boston Duck Tours, live entertainment and so much more to celebrate the city of Boston, its harbor, and our role in the American Revolution and continued Independence of this nation.
Danvers (July 1 to July 4): Danvers Family Festival has ongoing events this weekend in celebration of the Fourth of July and the summer season. The Danvers Field Day and Scoop-Ahh-Bowl, both of which will be held on Sat. July 2 at Plains Park (55 Conant Street) from 11AM to 3PM. The event includes slightly silly sports and races, an obstacle course, skills competitions, a wiffle ball tournament, and family-friendly events. The 15th Annual Scoop-Ahh-Bowl offers a chance to sample dozens of flavors from six of the area’s favorite ice cream shops. The Highlands Horribles Parade kicks off on Mon. July 4 at 9AM at the corner of Beachwood and Collins streets, and it concludes at the Danvers Highlands Commons. The Back Bay Parade kicks off on Mon. July 4 at 11AM at the intersection of Damon and Porter streets, and it concludes at Holten Richmond Middle School. A reading of the Declaration of Independence sponsored by the Danvers Committee for Diversity will be held at Peabody Institute Library (15 Sylvan Street) at noon.
Gloucester (Sun. July 3): There are several events in America’s seaport with the Fishtown Horribles Parade held on Sun. July 3 at 6PM. The parade includes 100 horribles, more than 40 floats, a dozen bands to keep music in the air, and other opportunities for entertainment. Take the time to extend your day into the evening in order to experience Gloucester’s annual fireworks display over one of America’s most famous harbors. Fireworks can be viewed beginning at 9:30PM along Stacy Boulevard as well as Stage Fort Part, Niles Beach and other locations throughout the city. There’s plenty of room for visitors. Be sure to get here early to find available parking throughout the community.
Lynn (Sun. July 3): Enjoy a concert with one of our favorite local bands, Lois Lane and the Daily Planets, on Sunday July 3 from 7 to 9PM. Their sure-to-be-amazing show will be followed by the city’s annual fireworks display which is always well-attended. The concert will be held at Red Rock Park Reservation on Lynn Shore Drive with the fireworks visible from along the shoreline following the concert. Remember, parking is limited, so carpooling and early arrival times are highly recommended.
Manchester-by-the-Sea (Mon. July 4): We love spending time in this special seaside community tucked away here on the North Shore, and it’s the perfect place to celebrate Independence Day. Their annual parade kicks off at 10AM on July 4 with music, marching bands, floats, antique cars, and everything patriotic you can imagine. It begins Manchester/Essex High School and it proceeds to Lincoln St., Vine St., School St., Pleasant St., Pine St., Central St., Union St., Norwood Ave., and concludes at the Coach Field Playground.
Marblehead (Mon. July 4): There is so much to do in Marblehead this weekend as the 51st Annual Marblehead Festival of the Arts runs July 1 to 4. Find out more information about the MFoA from our post.
You should also check out their community’s annual fireworks display to be held on Monday, July 4. A harbor illumination begins at 8:45PM and the fireworks display will light up the sky at approximately 9PM. Visit www.marbleheadfireworks.org for more information.
Melrose (Mon. July 4): This suburban community just North of Boston is home to a Fourth of July celebration on the Melrose Common (82 Laurel Street) that includes the quintessential Annual Bike & Carriage Parade where a decorated bike, wagon, carriage, scooter, skateboard or other custom ride cane take part in the festivities. There is no longer registration required for the parade that begins at 10:30AM with participants receiving a ribbon at its conclusion. There will also be free face painting, games and activities will also be included, and concessions will be available for purchase. Rain cancels the event. The event runs from 10:30AM to 12:30PM.
Salem (Mon. July 4): The City of Salem will hold its Independence Day celebration at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site on Derby Wharf on Monday, July 4. Celebrating this holiday in this setting is extremely special as it is the first National Historic Site in the National Park System with historic Salem Harbor, including hundreds of boats moored and the replica of a 1700’s sailing vessel, the Friendship, as a backdrop. Children’s activities begin at 4PM with the opening of the Kids’ Space, where youngsters can play games, get their faces painted, and get giveaways from the MAGIC 106.7 street team along with the MGH Pediatrics tent. The Food tents on site also open at 4PM with hot dogs, French fries, fried dough, kettle corn, and other fair favorites. Live entertainment on the Main Stage begins at 5PM with The DITTO band. Opening Ceremonies begin at 7:15PM when Mayor Driscoll and other local dignitaries will lead a parade down the wharf accompanied by the Salem Veterans Honor Guard and Salem Boy Scout troops. Immediately following opening ceremonies Maestro Dirk Hillyer and his orchestra has another great program in store for us. The band will play Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture to the fireworks which begin at 9:15PM. Click here to read the press release from the City of Salem.
Wakefield (Mon. July 4): This is one of our favorite Fourth of July Parades which kicks off at 5PM on North Avenue proceeding past Lakeside Office Park, continuing to Church Street to Common Street and onto Main Street. Parking is limited, but scoop up a spot wherever you can legally find one. The Galvin Middle School parking lots will not be available as that is where parade participants will congregate at the parade’s conclusion. The Wakefield Independence Day Committee is proud and happy to announce the Grand Marshal for the 2016 Fourth of July Parade is Wakefield Memorial High School Assistant Principal Dennis O’Leary who made WMHS his home away from home for the past 21 years. For more information, visit julyparade.org
Fourth of July Fireworks North of Boston
Andover: July 3 at 9:20PM at Andover High School at 80 Shawsheen Road. A rain date has been set for July 5.
Beverly Farms: July 4 at 9:15PM at West Beach. Certain restrictions apply. Please see above. A rain date has been set for July 5.
Boston: July 4 following the Boston Pops concert at the Esplanade and along the Charles River
Boston Harbor : July 2 at 9:00PM as part of Boston Harborfest on Long Wharf. No rain date has been set.
Gloucester: July 3 at 9:30PM in Gloucester Harbor with various sighting spots throughout the city. Please see information above.
Haverhill: July 3 at 9:15PM at Riverside Park
Lowell: July 4 at 9PM at LeLacheur Park. A rain date has been set for July 5.
Lynn: July 3 at 9PM at Red Rock Park and Lynn Shore Drive
Marblehead: July 4 at 9PM over Marblehead Harbor. Please see information above.
Methuen: July 2 at 9:30PM on the Merrimack River at Riverside Drive. A rain date has been set for July 8.
North Andover: July 3 at 9:30PM at Hayes Stadium, 495 Main Street. A rain date has been set for July 9.
North Reading: July 2 at 8PM at the Ipswich River Park. A rain date has been set for July 3.
Salem: July 4 at 9:20PM over Salem Harbor at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site on Derby Wharf.
Salisbury Beach: July 4 at 10PM
Swampscott: July 4 at 9PM at Swampscott Pier near Kings Beach.
Wilmington: July 2 at 9:30PM at the Wilmington Town Common. A rain date as been set for July 3.