PICK OF THE DAY
Our city is about traditions, and the “Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular” is one of the biggest. For you newcomers, here’s a primer: Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” (with cannon), “The Stars & Stripes Forever” (with American flag drop and confetti shot), fireworks (with noise). The all-local talent includes
Ayla Brown, Howie Day, Ellis Hall, Susan Tedeschi, and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.
July 4 from 7-10 p.m. (9:30 p.m. fireworks). Free. DCR Hatch Memorial Shell, Esplanade, Boston. 617-266-1492. www.july4th.org
Memories You know it as a bunch of medical buildings and condos along Storrow Drive, but Jules Aarons knew the West End as a neighborhood of cultures and friendships. Thanks to urban renewal, the ’hood is long gone, but thanks to the Bronx-born photographer, the ’hood is alive through his Rolleiflex shots of kids mugging for the camera and adults chatting. Journey back at “Life in the West End 1947-1953: the Photography of Jules Aarons.” Wednesday hours are noon-5 p.m. (through Aug. 3). Free. West End Museum, 150 Staniford St., Boston. 617-723-2125. www.thewestendmuseum.org
Go north This lovely North Shore town is worth a field trip without the Marblehead Festival of Arts, but with it, the seacoast town harbors music, art exhibits, kids’ activities, an artisans marketplace, a film festival, a street festival, and more. 5:30 p.m. (through July 7). Most activities are free. Venues including Abbot Hall Upper Grounds, Marblehead. 781-639-2787. www.marbleheadfestival.org
Turn it around Once a year, the world’s oldest commissioned warship takes a trip around Boston Harbor. The USS Constitution will head for Castle Island and fire a 21-gun salute before it returns to Charlestown. Care to accompany her on a Boston Harbor Cruise vessel?
USS Constitution Museum Turnaround Spectacular includes narration by a Constitution Museum historian. July 4 boarding at
10 a.m. (10:30 a.m. departure, 2 p.m. return). $75. Depart from
1 Long Wharf, Boston. 617-227-4321. www.bostonharborcruises.com
The Key Who knew? The tune of “The Star-Spangled Banner” comes from a 1780s drinking song, “Anacreon in Heaven.” Francis Scott Key’s lyrics turn 200 next year, and you can head back in time at Historic July 4th Celebrations at Old Sturbridge Village. Daytime activities include sack races, pie-eating contests, and readings of the Declaration of Independence. July 4 from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., and 6-10 p.m. (fireworks program; rain date July 5). $24, $22 seniors, $8 ages 3-17, $15 fireworks. Old Sturbridge Village, 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge. 800-733-1830. www.osv.org
Foster-ing talent Have you seen Sutton Foster in TV’s “Bunheads”? She’s a hoot, and a talented one. The Tony-winning hoofer, singer, and actress lets her hair down in Provincetown as part of the Broadway @ The Art House series. July 4 at 7 p.m., July 5 at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. $50-$100. The Art House, 214 Commercial St., Provincetown. 800-838-3006. www.ptownarthouse.com
Madrigal madness There’s nothing like a good madrigal, especially from the Aston Magna Madrigal Singers at “Vocal Fireworks: Shades of Love Lost.” Love’s power will be proclaimed through works by Claudio Monteverdi and Giaches de Wert. July 4 at 8 p.m. $30, $25 seniors. Slosberg Auditorium at Brandeis University, 415 South St., Waltham. 800-875-7156. www.astonmagna.org