ESSEX — Travel won't only be restricted on downtown streets Friday, but on the waterways behind Shepard Memorial Park as the town celebrates its bicentennial with food trucks, music and fireworks.

Police Chief Paul Francis says besides already announced road closures, the waterways behind the park will be closed to boat traffic for the fireworks. A harbormaster will be patrolling the river to enforce the closure, he said.

The fireworks event is geared for families. No alcohol, coolers or backpacks will be allowed in the park.

Also banned are drones and pets, except for service dogs, Francis said.

The bicentennial event begins at 5 p.m. with food trucks serving up pizza, barbecue, Indian food, gourmet hotdogs, clam chowder, ice cream and more for purchase until 8:30 p.m. prior to the fireworks. Two bands — Uncharted Watahs, with retired police Chief Peter G. Silva, and Mystery Meat,  will play from 5 p.m. until the fireworks start.


Bicentennial T-shirts, hoodies, commemorative calendars and Madame Varney tea towels will be for sale.

Parking is prohibited in the municipal lot behind Memorial Station and the dirt lot behind the tennis courts at Shepard Memorial Park. Handicap parking will be available at Town Hall.

At 4 p.m. Friday, Martin Street (Route 22), from Main Street (Route 133) to Western Avenue (also Route 22), will be closed to through-traffic. Traffic will be diverted as necessary down Western Avenue in either direction. Residents of Pickering, Winthrop, Maple and Prospect streets, and Walnut Park Road will be able to access their residences via Western Avenue only. Police will assist residents of Martin Street, Brook Pasture Road and Landing Road to their homes via Martin Street at Western Avenue.

While the event is underway, single-side parking on Martin Street and its branching side streets will be available. Cars will enter Martin Street via Western Avenue. Police officers and volunteer staff will be directing cars on where to park. Parking will also be available at Essex Elementary School, 12 Story St., a short walk to the park.

Parking anywhere else is allowed as long as its legal. Drivers are asked not to not block driveways and intersections, and to leave enough space for emergency vehicles to pass through if necessary.

In case of inclement weather, updates on the event's status will be posted on the town's webpage,

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