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News flash: Fireworks are back!

Communities throughout Greater Boston will salute the Fourth with pyrotechnics, music, and more

Salem had to be flexible with dates this year, moving its usual July 4th celebration — which includes live music, activities, and fireworks — to July 2nd.John Andrews

Graduation ceremonies. Block parties. And yes, Fourth of July fireworks. The pandemic may not be over, but the beloved rituals of summer, sacrificed altogether two years ago and minimized in 2021, are surging back.

The Boston Pops will play their annual July 4th concert with its grand finale of fireworks on the Esplanade again this year, but for those who don’t want to go into the city, the suburbs offer plenty of opportunities to see the skies light up as well.

As of June 10, according to Jake Wark, spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services, 35 municipalities had filed permits to hold fireworks displays between July 1 and July 7 – compared with 24 at the same time a year ago and 33 in 2019.


But the two-year hiatus had its silver linings, said Marblehead fireworks chair Alexander Falk. The pyrotechnics that light up Marblehead Harbor rely exclusively on individual and corporate donors, and funds have accrued over the past two years in the absence of the annual tradition. Extra money in the coffers this year will help offset the cost increase associated with supply chain issues and normal inflation.

In Weymouth, reviving the town’s fireworks tradition coincides with observances of Weymouth’s 400th anniversary. “It’s a bigger bang for the buck, after not having fireworks for three years and bringing it back as the town turns 400,” said George Raymond, president of the committee planning the anniversary commemoration. “We’ll have fireworks, food trucks, a live band, and some surprise guests.”

“We start our planning for the Fourth of July in January,” said Jim Reulbach, incoming president of The Exchange Club of Needham, a community service organization that hosts Needham’s annual July Fourth events.

“We still managed to have parades of varying sizes for the past two years, but we haven’t done fireworks since 2019,” Reulbach said. “We’re doing fireworks on July 3rd and our parade on [the Fourth] with a dozen marching bands, community floats, the whole thing. It’s a celebration that punctuates the year both for our club and for the town.”


Like Needham, Salem had to be flexible with dates this year, moving its usual July 4th celebration — which includes live music, activities, and fireworks — to July 2nd. With so much pent-up demand for fireworks, finding a pyrotechnic firm available to do the show was a challenge, according to Mayor Kimberley Driscoll.

“We’ve always tried to have it on the Fourth. We’re purists,” she said. “But we’re excited about this year’s celebration falling on a Saturday. It’s easier for working families, plus it means people may be able to get to two different Independence Day celebrations — ours on the second and another one on the fourth.”

But not every community that celebrated the Fourth with fireworks in the past will again. For some towns, weary from the pandemic and battered by the spring’s constantly fluctuating case numbers, securing permits as well as fund-raising, both of which need to begin long before the event, proved to be too heavy a lift.

In Acton, for example, the beloved yearly fireworks show at NARA Park remains on hold; the focus this year is on a summer lineup of concerts, plays, and festivals, including an all-ages concert July 6, a Queen tribute band July 8, and a beach festival July 24.


Other than going to the Hatch Shell in Boston, where can you catch fireworks this year? Following are a sampling of options. Many other towns are offering fireworks as well, so ask around — and double-check details before you go, in case plans change due to weather or other circumstances.



Friday, July 1

Fireworks at dusk

Silvershell Beach


Monday, July 4

Concert at 7 p.m.; fireworks at 9 p.m.

DCR Pilgrim Memorial State Park



Sunday, July 3

Bicycle and doll carriage parade at 4 p.m. followed by family activities and food trucks; live music at 6:30 p.m.; fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

Memorial Park Beach, Sharon



Sunday, July 3

Food trucks, activities, live music starting at 5 p.m.; fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

George Lane Beach, North Weymouth




Monday, July 4

Fireworks at 9 p.m.

Marblehead Harbor



Saturday, July 2

Live entertainment, parade, kids’ activities starting at 5 p.m., fireworks at 9:15 p.m.

Salem Maritime National Historic Site on Derby Wharf



Thursday, June 30

Concert at 6:30 p.m.; fireworks at 9:15 p.m.

541 Broadway



Sunday, July 3

Carnival 12 noon – 10:30 p.m.; concert 7 p.m.; fireworks 9:30 p.m.

Wilmington Town Common




Friday, July 1

Lexington Lions Club Carnival starting at 6 p.m. at Hastings Field; fireworks at 9:30 p.m. at Center Field



Sunday, July 3

Food trucks and activities starting at 5:30 p.m.; Live music at 7 p.m.; Fireworks at 9:15 p.m.


Memorial Park



Monday, July 4

Kids’ parade and activities throughout the day; concert at 6:30 p.m.; fireworks at 9 p.m.

Various daytime locations; concert and fireworks at Halloran Field, 250 Albermarle Road.


Nancy Shohet West can be reached at nancyswest@gmail.com.

Needham will hold its fireworks display on July 3.Alison Borrelli