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Between the politically incorrect parades, the BBQs and the Casco Bay fireworks cruises, there’s plenty to do this Fourth of July:
If you love a parade, but you don’t love the midday July sun or sitting on pavement, then head to Bath on Friday.
Bath holds its annual Fourth of July parade in the middle of its Bath Heritage Days festival. That means there are lots of vendors, some live entertainment and other things to keep you busy while waiting for the 10:30 a.m. start time.
But to really enjoy this quaint, hour-long parade, you have to know what the insiders know, namely, where to park and where to find a shady spot to sit.
The parade goes all over downtown, with people crammed on sidewalks, shoulder to shoulder, in front of storefronts.
But you don’t have to do that. The parade ends at the Patten Free Library, which has a grassy, tree-covered hill behind it. Get there about an hour early for a good spot, toss a blanket, and then wait for the fun, or walk around to find some.
Also, parking can be tough. A great spot for on-street parking is usually on Middle Street, north or south of Winter. Get off Route 1 at the High Street exit, follow High to a right on Winter, then take your first right or left on Middle.
Then just walk down Winter, which ends at library park. Walk across the park to the hill. Enjoy the shade.
You’re welcome. - Ray Routhier
10:30 a.m. July 4. Route: Corner of North and Lincoln streets, south on Lincoln, east on Centre, north on Front, ending just past Patten Free Library.
The people of Round Pond have been hosting an Independence Day parade for years – one that started small but now attracts a hearty crowd – that’s low on pageant winners and high on political incorrectness (and a few well-placed curse words thrown in for good measure). It always starts at noon, rain or shine, and the floats are always lively, colorful and not afraid to offend. Expect political jabs, social commentary and locals cracking wise about tourists.
Noon July 4 | Free | Round Pond | Map
If you don’t already have a friend on the East End with a rooftop deck, now’s the time to find one. If that doesn’t work out, meander to the grassy hill on Portland’s East End anyway, because that’s where most of the city will be congregating, as they do every year, for the Stars and Stripes Spectacular. There will be food and craft vendors, an all-you-can-eat ice cream festival ($5), a Patriotic Pops Concert from the PSO, and The Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes & Drums
will be joining the festivities this year. The 25-minute fireworks show starts around 9:20 p.m.
Vendors at noon, ice cream fest 4-7 p.m., fireworks at 9:20 pm. Free | www.july4thportland.org
On July 5, catch the Summertime Boating Parade of Lights. Which boat will bring it best? Watch the summertime boat parade of lights in Casco Bay the night of
9 p.m. July 5 | Free to watch | http://www.southportland.org/files/2613/9542/1639/Parade_of_Lights_07-05-14.pdf
It’s a community BBQ in one of South Portland’s sweetest locales: Bug Light Park. The food hits the grill at 11 a.m. (4th of July favorites like hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage sandwiches and more – at decent prices, too). At noon, Benjamin Franklin makes an appearance for a lively reading of the Declaration of Independence. There will be afternoon activities for the kids, music, and that purty view. Fly a kite if you’d like (Bug Lite is a kite’s favorite place) and stay for the fireworks!
10 a.m. to 4 p.m (stay longer for the fireworks!) July 4 | Free | Bug Light Park, South Portland | FMI: on Facebook
A private charter, and a day of live music out on Chebeague Island. It has all the perks of summer in one place, like yard games, dunk tank, sack races, and live music from Josh Doughty, Jaw Gems, Tough Cats, Jason Spooner and Royal Hammer! And let’s not forget the food, beer and wine.
4 to 10 p.m. July 4 | Chebeague Island Inn | $30 | chebeaguechebang.com
Toad the Wet Sprocket. That’s what you need to know about L.L. Bean’s Fourth of July festivities. Sure, there will be a 10K at 7:30 a.m., a parade at 10 a.m., and, of course, an inspiring display of fireworks at 9:10 p.m. But Toad the Wet Sprocket concert! For free! It’s a winning day, all around.
Race at 7:30 and 9:15 a.m., concert at 7:30 p.m. and fireworks at 9:10 p.m. | Concert and fireworks free | llbean.com/summer
Looking to see some colorful explosions in the sky this Fourth of July? Check out our list of Independence Day fireworks displays to find a celebration near you.
All the 4th classics are lined up for Ocean Park’s annual celebration: A decorated bicycle contest, art show, and the 64th annual Independence Day community Parade, which starts its march down Temple Avenue at 10 am. Young participants get a free popsicle for parading.
Starting at 9 am July 4 | Free | Ocean Park, Old Orchard Beach | FMI: www.oceanpark.org
There’s also a Sand Sculpture Competition on July 3 – aka Fourth of July Eve – from 1-3 p.m. It’s a family event, so all teams must include one child. Preferably one who’s really, really good at building stuff with sand.FMI: www.oceanpark.org
Cruise to benefit Independence Association
Casco Bay Lines, Maine State Pier, Portland
Music from DJ Haunt, food, and a cash bar – plus a view of those awesome Portland fireworks.
7 to 10:30 p.m. pm July 4 | $30 (21+) | djhaunt.com/july4.htm
Islander and the Bay View Lady
Long Wharf, Portland
Fireworks Cruise aboard the Islander and the Bay View Lady, Long Wharf. A family-friendly cruise with light refreshments and a cash bar on board. Passengers can bring their own snacks, but beverages have to be purchased on board
7 to 10 p.m. July 4 | $40 adults, $30 kids under 13 | 207-774-0808
Portland Schooner Company
Maine State Pier, Portland
Guests can feast on pies from Two Fat Cats and enjoy hot coffee – and guests are also welcome to bring aboard other beverages like snacks, beer and wine. Should the fireworks get rained out, the cruise will take place on the day the fireworks are rescheduled.
8:15 p.m. to 10:15 pm July 4 | $65 per person| 207-766-2500 | portlandschooner.com
Long Wharf, Portland
A family-friendly event that includes a narrated cruise of the harbor. No smoking or drinking allowed. Soda and chips will be available, and passengers can bring their own snacks. Call ahead.
7 p.m. to when the fireworks are over July 4 | $30 adults/$25 seniors and ages 13 to 18/$15 ages 12 and under | 207-632-8842