Since 1941, the 4th of July or Independence day has been a federal holiday in the US. However, the tradition of hosting celebrations on the 4th of July dates back to the American Revolution of the eighteenth century. The continental congress voted for America’s independence on 2nd July 1776, and the thirteen colonies adopted the historic declaration of independence (drafted by Thomas Jefferson) 2 days later. It was then that America was born. From 1776 to date, various celebrations have been held in America to commemorate the historic event. These celebrations range from family gatherings and barbeques, parades, concerts to fireworks.
In present-day Portland, people participate in various activities to commemorate Independence Day. Some of these activities include watching fireworks on Eastern Promenade, a trip to Narrow Gauge Museum, waterfront train rides and boat cruises along Casco Bay, Old Port walking tour, barbeques, baking patriotic desserts and much more. Above everything else, the best thing we can do on 4th July is to celebrate. Celebrate the birth of America, celebrate the rights we enjoy but too often take for granted, Celebrate the sacrifices of those who came before us, and appreciate the fact that we also have a role to play in determining the direction our nation will take next.
Fireworks on Eastern Promenade
Traditionally, fireworks celebrations on the 4th of July have been one of the common activities across America. In Portland, Maine, the situation is no different. 4th of July fireworks celebrations are usually held on Eastern Promenade. The annual event is usually free to attend, and thousands of people from across Portland attend. It is characterized by the presence of a lot of picnic spots and food vendors on the grassy hill, and the Casco Bay usually fills with people watching the fireworks on boats.
Other than being a time to celebrate America’s independence, the event also provides a commercial opportunity for vendors to sell food, souvenirs, and various merchandise. On 4th July 2019, the firework celebration was accompanied by a treat from the Portland Symphony Orchestra as well as Covantage. This was not the first time that Portland Symphony Orchestra has made a performance during the 4th July fireworks celebrations. For many years since 2010, they have entertained the audience before and during the event.
However, in 2020, the event was canceled as a safety measure against the spread of COVID-19. City Manager of Portland, Jon Jennings, announced that he had no option but to cancel the event because the State of Maine had forbidden social gatherings of over 50 people. Budget constraints were another reason why the event was canceled. According to Portland’s spokesperson Jessica Grondin, the city did not have sufficient funds to hold 4th July celebrations in 2020. Following these two events, the celebrations have been rescheduled to 4th July 2021.