The 4th of July fireworks will be launched from a barge in Casco Bay said Jack Quirk, President of Quirk Cheverolet, at a brief press conference this morning at the Cumberland Club, Portland. Quirk is one of the founders of the Stars and Stripes Spectacular which for the last two years has seriously ramped up the city’s annual Fourth of July Fireworks on the Eastern Promenade on the Hill.
The Fore River Dock & Dredge Company has donated a barge from which the fireworks will be launched. The barge will be located about 200′ feet off the Eastern Promenade, near Pomeroy Rock in Casco Bay for the annual spectacular. Traditionally, they have been launched from East End Beach. The City’s fire department, police department, the US Coast Guard and Portland Tugs have all been working together to insure that this will be a safe event for all. Robert Moody, director of the Portland Symphony Orchestra said the Orchestra will play all the great music of the day. This year the 60-voice Magic of Christmas chorus will be added to the program replacing soloists of past years. The concert will begin about 7:40 pm and continue through the finale of the fireworks display over Casco Bay.
City manager Mark Rees said he’s looking forward to seeing his first fireworks on the Eastern Promenade since he has been on the job for less than a year. He thanked all the parties involved for making this come true. According to Jon Jennings, last year there were between 60,000 and 80,000 who attended the Fireworks. Launching them from a barge will open up the area much more and allow many more people to enjoy the spectacular. The group is working with two area charities to hopefully add a fun charitable event during the day.
But this is not the first time that fireworks have been launched from a barge in Casco Bay. It used to be a tradition until about 17 years ago, when there was an accident on the barge. “Something misfired or there was a malfunction of some kind”, said Troy Daigle, a former city employee for the Department of Public Services. He was in the crowd that night setting up barriers and cleaning up after the event was over. Early into the fireworks show, they all went sort of crazy. People panicked. No one in the audience was hurt.
“This event has become a passion for all of us. We want to make it better and better each year,” said Jon Jennings at the press conference.