Parades, waterfront fireworks in two communities and a large bonfire are all part of the Fourth of July festivities scheduled to take place on Cape Ann next week.
Both Gloucester and Manchester-by-the-Sea have fireworks this year.
Here is a town-by-town schedule:
In addition to the colorful cast of characters who dress up as the Fishtown Horribles, the annual Independence Eve Gloucester parade next Tuesday night will feature bands, floats, politicians, businesses, and just a lot of marchers having fun.
After leaving the high school at 6 p.m., the Horribles Parade will travel to Stacy Boulevard via Centennial Avenue and then follow Western Avenue to Rogers Street to Manuel F. Lewis Street.
After turning at the Rose Baker Senior Center, the parade will continue along Main Street, up Pleasant Street to Prospect Street, up Railroad Avenue to Washington Street, and then turn down Centennial and end back at the high school.
"This year we expressing our gratitude to our troops abroad," said Alfred Kipp, a parade organizer. The parade also salutes local veterans, he added.
Gloucester Amvets Post 32 will lead the parade. The four grand marshals are retiring Police Chief Michael Lane, retired interim Fire Chief Phil Dench, retired Gloucester High Principal William Goodwin, and retired assistant superintendent Brian Tarr.
"As always we encourage anyone to come join in on the fun," said Kipp.
The bands this year are Les Eclairs and Titans brass bands from Quebec City, New Hampshire Pipes & Drums, Boston Firemen's Band, Italian American Band of Lawrence, Northeast Italian Band, Volume II Steel Band, North Shore Stompers and Penn Dixie Band.
After the fireworks, there will be two bands down at the boulevard near the bridge to provide entertainment for the crowd before the fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. One of those bands is the Runaround.
Barry Pett, one of the organizers, suggested that people who want fireworks updates can use their smartphones and go to the Gloucester fireworks page on Facebook.
Ringo Tarr, another organizer, reminded those watching on the waterfront that the show doesn't end when the fireworks stop. There will be an even larger laser light show after the fireworks.
Pett also wanted to make an appeal for doantions to the fireworks fund which only has money at this point for the July 3 show but not for the Labor Day weekend show.
"This is been the most difficult year to raise money and I understand times are tough. The businesses who have always been our largest supporters are facing economic difficulty like everyone else, but the individual donations are way down," he said. "If each family or individual gave $10 for each show they watched, we would have the largest shows that anyone has seen anywhere."
All donations received go to these fireworks displays with no administrative costs deducted. Donations are tax deductible and may be sent to: The Gloucester Fund Inc., Fireworks Fund, 45 Middle St., Gloucester, MA 01930.
Rockport will hold its Fourth of July events on the date itself with its annual Fireman's Parade starting at 6 p.m. at the Rockport public school complex on Jerden's Lane.
Residents and visitors line up along the route that goes from South Street to Dock Square, down Main Street to Beach Street, ending at the bandstand near Back Beach. The Rockport Fireman's Association sponsors the annual Independence Day parade, and hopes people along the route will have a few dollar bills ready to donate when the buckets are passed around.
Following the parade, the public can gather in the Back Beach area for the annual bonfire, which begins "when all the hot dogs are sold" — generally around dusk, any time after 8:30 p.m. The bonfire is built with wooden pallets, often with a surprise structure at the very top. There will also be music with a band playing at the bandstand.
This is the year of fireworks for Manchester, which take place Tuesday, July 3.
The Beachbreakers pre-fireworks concert on Singing Beach is from 7:15. to 9:15 p.m. The fireworks take place from 9:15 to 9:45 p.m.
On Wednesday, July 4, the annual Fourth of July parade begins at 10 a.m. Skydivers will land at Coach Field playground at 12:15 p.m.
To kick off the Fourth of July week, the Manchester-Essex Rotary Club is gearing up for its annual Red White & Blue Breakfast, now in its 20th year.
The breakfast will be Saturday, June 30, from 7:30 to 11 a.m. at scenic Tuck's Point in Manchester. Ponies will be saddled and ready for the free ride for the children. This annual community event is so named for its pancakes, served with strawberries, blueberries and real whipped cream.
Tickets are $8 (children 6 and younger are free) in advance and $10 at the door. In addition to pancakes, there will be eggs, bacon, home fries and drinks as well as live music. Tickets available at The Landing Restaurant, the Manchester Barber Shop, or the Manchester branches of Peoples United Bank or Cape Ann Savings Bank.
Chebacco Lake Boat Parade
In Essex, the Chebacco Lake and Watershed Association will sponsor its annual Fourth of July Boat Parade on Wednesday starting at 1 p.m. All boats are welcome and new participants are encouraged.
All boats will meet near the Centennial Grove beach and proceed around the lake counterclockwise. Awards will be given out for Most Patriotic, Most Original and Best in Show, but all decorated boats will receive a prize.
The parade can be viewed from anywhere along the shoreline.
No pre-registration is required for those taking part; just show up.
Anyone seeking more information may call 978-468-7715.
Gail McCarthy may be contacted at 978-283-7000 x3445 or firstname.lastname@example.org.