Boston, home to the Boston Tea Party and the first shots of the Revolutionary War always goes all out for July 4th. This year, however, the annual Fireworks fest anchored by the much beloved Boston Pops outdoor concert on the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade is just one of many fun family activities that will be taking place from June 28 to July 6, 2012 along Boston’s famed waterfront. This year Boston is being treated to visits by an array of naval vessels old and new, the opening of a new museum and many other great Harborfest activities.
Whether you live in New England or are just visiting be sure to spend some time visiting Boston’s Waterfront where the action will be non-stop. Here’s a list of the not to be missed activities – many are free!
Boston Navy Week and Opsail Boston 2012
From June 28-July 6th the US Navy will be celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner and the War of 1812 with Boston Navy Week. The event includes special recognition of the role played by the country’s oldest commissioned warship “Old Ironsides”, aka the USS Constitution. Numerous Naval ships as well as the US Coast Guard Eagle tall ship will be docked in the Navy Yard and at several other locations around the waterfront. They will be open for tours by the public and will be joined by some of the world’s most famous tall ships that are visiting Boston as part of Opsail Boston 2012 which will bring 4 major tall ships plus smaller sailing vessels to Boston from June 30 to July 5th. These will include Cisne Branco (Brazil), BAE Guayas (Ecuador), ARC Gloria (Columbia) and Dewaruci (Indonesia). Check the schedule closely as not all ships are open at all times. Times are subject to change.
The USS Constitution Turnaround and War of 1812 Reenactments
On the 4th of July at 11 am “Old Ironsides” will make it’s annual trip from the Charlestown Navy Yard to Castle Island accompanied by the US Coast Guard Eagle. There will be a 21 cannon salute to America and a Blue Angel Fly Over. Stop by the Navy Yard the rest of the week to see re-enactments of War of 1812 boarding and pike drills. On Monday July 2 from 2:45-3:45 p.m there will be a War of 1812 Privateer Replica Sail Reenactment in Boston Harbor.
Re-Opening of the Tea Party Mueseum
After a lengthy closure, the totally rebuilt and updated Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum re-opened to the public on June 26, 2012. The new Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum features three traditional tall ships, which replicate the ships that took part in the original Boston Tea Party. They are the Beaver, the Dartmouth, and the Eleanor. The centerpiece of the Museum is an exhibit of one of only two surviving tea chests from the original Boston Tea Party protest. Located on Congress Street the Museum is open 9 am to 5 pm everyday.
An annual event, Boston Harborfest is being held July 28-July 4th in 2012. Children’s Day is July 29th and will feature music, ballons, fun and games for children at Boston City Hall Plaza. Many events are planned each day. The Harborfest web site has detailed listing of all type of activities from walk tours, cruises, treasure hunts and much more. While you are in town, don’t forget to walk the Freedom Trail and visit many of Boston’s most historic sites. It covers 2.5 miles and is a great way to explore downtown, the North End and Charlestown.
Fireworks and the Boston Pops
Finally, any Independence Week celebration in Boston would not be complete without the Boston Pops and the City’s Fireworks spectacular. The grassy Hatch Shell oval opens at 9 am and will fill quickly as some people wait for hours to be first in line. Before the city banned overnight camping some people started grabbing spots days ahead. During the day, the oval is filled with people of all ages hanging out, enjoying the scene. It can get hot so bring lots of water, food and sunscreen. The actual concert begins at 8:20 pm with a patriot song sing along and performances by the Pops and several special guests including Jennifer Hudson, the Drop Kick Murphys and others. The highlight is always the Pop’s rendition of the famous 1812 Overture. There is a break in the program at 9:30 pm for the National CBS broadcast with the actual fireworks scheduled for 10:30 pm. They can be seen from both the Boston and Cambridge sides of the river but get a spot early if the weather is good.
Boston is a great city for celebrating our Nation’s founding and 2012 is a special year. We hope you get to enjoy some of the festivities!
Fireworks photo courtesy of Boston July 4th
USS Constitution photo courtesy of the US Navy