Can it really be the weekend of the 4th of July? Where did the spring go? Where has the sun and warm weather been hiding?
I guess it’s been waiting for this weekend to appear because the forecast for the 4th is spectacular and people are ready for some partying. And what better place to be for the 4th of July than in Plymouth, America’s Hometown?
Plymouth has always celebrated Independence Day in a big way. It has been a tradition that has stayed the course over the years even during times when a lack of funds seemed to threaten to put the kibosh on it. Which is to say, that back in the 1980’s, it became fiscally impossible for the town to continue to take on the basic expenses for the celebration that includes a parade, a concert on the waterfront, and the magnificent fireworks over the harbor. Budget constraints left no monies to pay for the planned activities, never mind the police, fire, and clean-up that is a huge expense when planning a celebration of this magnitude in a town the size of Plymouth.
So rather than see the town go without its celebration, a small group of townsfolk got together and decided to try and raise the money to keep this annual tradition alive. They quickly formed a non-profit group called July 4 Plymouth Inc. and set a goal of being able to support the celebration of Independence Day each year. And for the past 30 years or so they have been successful. This year is no exception.
According to Ken Tavares, President of the group, this year’s celebration will be fantastic. “We are going to have our traditional 4th of July celebration this year,” he said. “We needed to raise $100,000 and we did. It’s a big undertaking to pay for all the services, the fireworks and the parade and the concert. But what is truly amazing is that we did it this year with less than 175 businesses, families and individuals donating. Due to their generosity, we reached our goal.”
Come check it out. There will be the parade in the morning with a theme this year of “It’s A Small World.” Trophies will be awarded in each of three categories: The Community Category, The Commercial Category and The Music Category. There will be trophies awarded for the best color guard in the parade, the entry that “best depicts the 2011 parade theme” and the President’s trophy, awarded by the July Fourth Committee that goes to “the individual or organization that best personifies the spirit of the day.”
This year’s parade will be filled with bands, floats, antique cars, motorcycles, and the traditional fire trucks from Plymouth and the surrounding towns that will lead the parade starting at Hedge Road in North Plymouth. (If you would like to drive your motorcycle or antique car in the parade, line up is at 8:30 at Bourne Street and Standish Avenue, behind the fire trucks. No entry application is required.). The parade starts at 9:30 and winds through North Plymouth to the center of town and around to the waterfront where the reviewing stand will be next to Plymouth Rock, across from the Governor Bradford Statue.
You can spend the rest of the day strolling along the waterfront, window shopping, eating a great meal or grabbing an ice cream cone and relax as you wait for the concert and the fireworks to begin. It’s supposed to be a gorgeous day so take full advantage of it. Check out the Mayflower II, or take a leisurely walk along the jetty. And just think, once you’ve parked your car for the day, you’ll be all set for the concert and fireworks. Anyone who’s been to Plymouth on the 4th knows parking can be a challenge, so plan to park away from the downtown area, wear your comfortable shoes and enjoy the walk to the waterfront.
Somewhere around 6:00 or 6:30 p.m. it would be wise to find a place to settle in for the evening’s events. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and make yourself comfortable. Just remember this is a family celebration and no alcohol is allowed.
It starts with the concert on the waterfront. Once again the town’s band – The Legion Bud Band – will be serenading the crowd with patriotic favorites. The Massachusetts National Guard will have the howitzers set up along the water and when the band plays the Overture of 1812, these big guns will play their part in enhancing the music and creating an emotional tug at your heart for the privilege of living in this great country.
As the sun sets over the water and dusk begins to fall, you’ll start to feel the anticipation for the fireworks begin to build. According to Tavares, the show will start somewhere around 9:00.
“Depending on the night sky, we’ll be starting the fireworks between 9:00 and 9:20” he said. “They are shot off from a barge out at the breakneck in Plymouth Harbor. This year they will be provided by Atlas Pyrotechnics out of Jaffrey NH. They usually last around 25 minutes, depending on the weather conditions.”
When it’s all over, it’s going to take a while to negotiate the foot traffic and get back to your car. No need to stress. You will eventually make it out to the main road and while you’re walking you can re-live your favorite moments of the day. Happy 4th of July all!