4th of July – “Stars and Stripes Spectacular” Reinstates Fireworks from a Barge in Casco Bay

By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,163)

The traditional Fourth of July celebration – “The Stars & Stripes Spectacular” will be held at the Eastern Promenade Park on Wednesday of next week. The celebration will feature a free Patriotic Pops by the Portland Symphony Orchestra, directed by Robert Moody. The concert which starts at 7:40 pm runs throughout the fireworks display. The display begins about 9:20 pm. July 5th is the rain day.

For the first time in 17 years, the fireworks will be shot from a barge about 200 ft. from the shore. They will be shot near Pomeroy Rock, Casco Bay for good visibility for all. Seventeen years ago there was a misfire or malfunction on the barge early on. No one in the audience was injured, but many people were frightened and panicked by it. Fireworks were suspended until now. Boaters are asked to keep 350 yards between them and the fireworks barge for safety reasons. For more information, please see Post # 1,130, dated 5/1/12.

The Patriotic Pops will include performances of Sousa, Copland, Techaikovsky and 1984 Olympic theme composed by John Williams in anticipation of the Summer Olympics. The 60-voice Magic of Christmas Chorus will be added to the program replacing soloists of the past two years.

For the third year, the event which draws about 50,000 people to the Promenade, has been privately funded. In 2010, the event was scrapped from the city’s budget because of cuts. A group of businessmen, led by Jon Jennings, stepped in to rescue the celebration and renamed it The Starts & Stripes Spectacular. Jennings is the recent past president of the Maine Red Claws, Portland. He is now focused on the redevelopment of about 30 acres at Thompson’s Point, called The Forefront.