By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,460)
The stage is almost set for the Fourth of July Celebration, “The Stars and Stripes Spectacular,” on the Eastern Promenade on Munjoy Hill. Highlighting this year’s celebration is special guest artist Don McLean who will perform with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, directed by Robert Moody, on the above stage. He will perform his two classics; “American Pie” and “Starry Starry Night.” The concert will have a Lincoln theme in honor of the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation. The Patriotic Pops concert is scheduled to begin at 7:40 pm. The concert will run throughout the fireworks display which will begin at about 9:20 PM. Friday, July 5th, is the rain date.
As part of the Celebration, the Maine Historical Society will present a reading of the Gettysburg Address by Portland Mayor Michael Brennan. This portion of the Celebration is of particular significance because it was at the Gettysburg Battleground, that Mainer Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain distinguished himself and Maine when leading the 20th Maine to a victory which changed the course of the Civil War. Chamberlain, a war hero, died from his war wounds at his home on Ocean Avenue, Portland. The reading will take place at noon in front of the Longfellow House at 489 Congress Street.
The City estimates that 50,000 people will watch the program throughout the city. To accommodate spectators who want to ride their bikes to Munjoy Hill, Valet Bibycle Parking will be available at Fort Allen Park, allowing cyclists to part their bicycle for free That service will be available from 6 pm until 10:30 pm.
The Portland Fire Department reminds residents that sparklers are legal, but are very hot and should be used with extreme caution when around other people. Fireworks are banned in the City of Portland should not be brought to the Eastern Promenade. Fines of at least $200 apply for individuals intending to use fireworks within the city. Spectators are urged not to bring their pets because of the large crowds and noise.
On-street parking will be restricted for the following streets from 7 am until 11 pm: Eastern Promenade (both sides) from Morning Stgreet to Washington Avenue, Fort Allen Park (both sides); W alnut Street from the Eastern Promenade to Washington Avenue and Mountord Street from Congress Street to Fore Street (both sides). There are a number of streets in the area that will be closed from 11 am until 10 pm on the Fourth as well.