The Best Spots for a Festive Fourth

Staff Writer
Baystateparent Magazine
The Fourth of July is one birthday bash we can all celebrate together. Cities and towns all across the Bay State host their own Independence Day celebrations, with most featuring music, parades, and, of course, fireworks! Here are some of the bigger family-friendly festivities you’ll find this year as our nation celebrates the big 242! 

Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular

Wednesday, July 4: 8-11 p.m.,

Gates Open at 9 a.m.

Free, Open to the Public

Charles River Esplanade

This birthday bash on the banks of the Charles River, one of the country’s oldest and largest Independence Day celebrations, draws thousands of people every year. Newton’s own Rachel Platten, whose hit “Fight Song” topped multiple charts worldwide in 2015, will headline the concert at the DCR Hatch Memorial Shell on the Esplanade. The annual event will also feature Grammy Award-winning artists Rhiannon Giddens, of the Carolina Chocolate Drops; Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, of the Indigo Girls; and Rita Moreno, who’s perhaps best known for her role as Anita in “West Side Story.”

 A 20-minute fireworks show set to the sounds of the Boston Pops, including a rendition of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” complete with real cannons, will top off the evening.

Independence Day at Old Sturbridge Village

Wednesday, July 4, Village open 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Included with daytime admission, a season pass, or Village membership

1 Old Sturbridge Village Rd., Sturbridge

Join a citizen’s parade or militia march, play 19th century “baseball,” make a tri-cornered hat or put your John Hancock on a giant copy of the Declaration of Independence. An exciting feature of the festivities is the firing of a reproduction cannon, a working model of a “Heavy 3-Pounder,” meant to fire 3-pound balls. Two times during the day, six costumed re-enactors will render the words of the Declaration line by line, assisted by a narrator who sets these words in their rich historical context, drawing out their meaning and challenging the audience to consider their relevance and power for today.

In true patriotic spirit, you can also watch and be inspired by a citizen naturalization ceremony on the Village Common.  

Marblehead Fireworks & Harbor Illumination

Wednesday, July 4, 9 p.m.

Free, Open to the Public

Marblehead Harbor

Head the North Shore for a sparkly oceanside fireworks show and breathtaking harbor illumination. The community will light the harbor up in patriotic red and white and blue at 9 p.m., with the fireworks display lighting up the sky 15 minutes later. Find a spot on a public beach to catch the show, or check out for their list of the best places to take it in.

Rutland Fourth of July Celebration

Friday, June 29-Sunday, July 1,July 2-3, various times

Most events free,Open to the Public


The little town of Rutland does it up big each year for Fourth. The multi-day celebration features athletic events, food festivals, and dazzling fireworks. The fun kicks off Friday, June 29 with a community bonfire at Rutland Heights. Weekend events include Junior Olympics, a Volleyball Tournament, road race and concerts on the Common.

Head to town on July 3 for a Chicken BBQ, Strawberry Festival, more music and the fireworks display. The fun rounds out on the Fourth with a pancake breakfast and a massive parade. Find the full schedule at