Activities for everyone at this year’s Boston Harborfest

Wayne Braverman
Link Boston Homes
Boston Harborfest remains the country’s largest Fourth of July celebration.

With events stretching from Downtown Crossing to the North End and from the Boston Common to Boston Harbor, the 40th edition of Boston Harborfest runs July 1-4. It remains the country’s largest – and Boston’s most expansive – Fourth of July celebration.

Local and international leaders will oversee military music and pageantry during kick-off events in Downtown Crossing on July 1. Harborfest highlights include a spectacular concert and fireworks display July 2 at Christopher Columbus Park, a turn-around sail of the USS Constitution in Boston Harbor and family-friendly events daily.

Boston Harborfest ends July 4 with a 1 p.m. reading of a historic Frederick Douglass speech and a free ice cream social in Downtown Crossing.

“The City of Boston is known as the Cradle of Liberty for our role in the Revolution, and so it’s fitting that we are home to one of the largest Fourth of July celebrations in the country,” says Mayor Michelle Wu. “Harborfest is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate our journey toward independence.”

Boston Harborfest is a collaboration between the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau (GBCVB), the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District (Downtown Boston BID) and Conventures, Inc.

Partners include the City of Boston Mayor’s Office of Tourism, Sports & Entertainment, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, Friends of Christopher Columbus Park, as well as the Freedom Trail Foundation and many sites along it.

Events happen each day; an updated schedule can be found at https://www.bostonharborfest.com/schedule. The current schedule includes:

There are plenty of things to do and enjoy for people of all ages at the Boston Harborfest.

JULY 1

HIGHLIGHT:

Noon – Harborfest Opening Ceremony with City of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, city and state elected officials, the British Consul General, travel and tourism industry leaders, and presence of military and historical groups. Includes a ceremonial cake-cutting, Colonial “living historians” and more.

ALL-DAY PROGRAMMING:

11 a.m. – 6 p.m. – Family-friendly music, fashion and entertainment events in Downtown Crossing:

·         11 a.m. - 5 p.m. – DTX Arts and Crafts Market (Summer St. Plaza)

·         11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. – 215th Army Band (Downtown Crossing Steps)

·         Noon - 2 p.m. – Through Me to You Puppetry (near Downtown Crossing Steps)

·         Noon - 2 p.m. and 4:30-6:30 p.m. – Downtown Boston Brass (roaming)

·         Noon - 2 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. – Mediterranean Band (roaming)

·         1 - 4 p.m. – Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes and Drums (Downtown Crossing Steps)

·        2 - 4 p.m. – Macy’s “Red White & Blue Fashion Show” (Summer St. @ Washington St.)

This year’s annual Boston Harborfest runs July 1 through 4.

JULY 2

HIGHLIGHTS:

Noon – Chowderfest. Visitors can sample a variety of chowders from local restaurants, as a panel of judges visit each vendor and declare a chowder winner. (Summer Street Plaza, Downtown Crossing)

6 - 9 p.m. – Harborfest Pre-Fireworks Concert featuring Sweet Harmony and local talent

performing Broadway standards and iconic patriotic songs with children’s activities throughout. (Christopher Columbus Park, North End)

9:15 p.m. – Boston Harborfest Fireworks (Inner Harbor @ Long Wharf/Columbus Park) Presented by M&T Bank, a spectacular display lights up the city sky above Boston’s Inner Harbor at approximately 9:15 p.m.  

ALL-DAY PROGRAMMING:

11 a.m. – 6 p.m. – Music, auto, craft and family friendly events in Downtown Crossing including:

·         11 a.m. - 2 p.m. – Classic Car Showcase (Summer St. Plaza)

·         11 a.m. - 5 p.m. – DTX Arts and Crafts Market (Summer St. Plaza)

·         Noon - 2 p.m. – Through Me To You Puppetry (near Downtown Crossing Steps)

·         Unlikely Strummers Ukulele Band (noon – 2 p.m. – Franklin Steps)

·         Noon - 2 p.m. and 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. – Downton Boston Brass (roaming)

·         Noon - 2 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. – Mediterranean Band (roaming)

·        2 - 6 p.m. – Fife and Drums Showcase (Downtown Crossing Steps)

o    The William Diamond Junior Fife & Drum Corps (from Lexington)

o    The Sudbury Ancient Fyfe & Drum Company (Sudbury)

o    The Middlesex County 4-H Fife & Drum Corps (regional)

·         3 - 6 p.m. – Dancing with DJ Bruno

JULY 3

HIGHLIGHTS:

Noon - 2 p.m. – Patriotic Pooch Parade (Summer St. Plaza). A beloved annual event for our four-legged loved ones with a guest panel awarding great prizes for Best in Show, Best Team, Most Creative and Most Patriotic. Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/patriotic-pooch-parade-registration-359775657677

Noon - 6 p.m. – Revolutionary War Re-enactors (Downtown Crossing)

ALL-DAY PROGRAMMING:

Noon - 7 p.m. – A variety of music and family friendly events in Downtown Crossing including:

·         Noon - 2 p.m. – Through Me to You Puppetry (Downtown Crossing Steps)

·         Noon - 2 p.m. and 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. – Downtown Boston Brass (roaming)

·         Noon - 2 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. – Mediterranean Band (roaming)

·         1 - 4 p.m. – Middlesex County Volunteers Fife and Drums (Downtown Crossing Steps)

·         4 - 6 p.m. – Opera Man and Friends (Downtown Crossing Steps)

Fireworks above Boston’s Inner Harbor begin at approximately 9:15 p.m.

JULY 4

INDEPENDENCE DAY HIGHLIGHTS:

9 a.m. – City of Boston’s 246th Independence Day Celebration. A short parade steps off from City Hall Plaza and passes Granary Burying Ground, where wreaths will be laid on the graves of patriots. The parade continues through Downtown Crossing to the Old State House.

10 a.m. – Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company carries on its tradition of reading the Declaration of Independence from the balcony of the Old State House.

11:30 a.m. – USS Constitution sails through Boston Harbor (viewing shoreside and around Boston Harbor)

1 p.m. – “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” - the famous speech by scholar and abolitionist Frederick Douglass gets a public reading by citizens including youth and community leaders organized by the New Democracy Coalition, with performances from gospel singers and dancers. (Downtown Crossing Steps)

1:30 p.m. – Ice Cream Social (Downtown Crossing Steps)

TBD – Middlesex County Volunteers Fife and Drums Concert (Washington Mall)

Full information (schedule, directions and more) is available at https://www.bostonharborfest.com.