Massachusetts Independence Day: Parties, Parades, Patriotism

PHOTO: Star Spangled Springfield
Courtesy Spirit of Springfield

Rich in Colonial history, blessed with great beaches and known for its exuberant/passionate/just-plain-loud locals, Massachusetts is a great place to celebrate Independence Day. From Springfield to New Providence, the state is a patriotic party.

PHOTO: Costumed Characters, Living History
Courtesy Fort Taylor-Fort Rodman Historical Association
Costumed Characters, Living History

Significant moments in United States history are reenacted at various sites all over Boston, New Bedford and other communities.

PHOTO: Whaling Ship Comes to New Bedford
Courtesy Destination New Bedford/Massachusetts Office of Tourism
Whaling Ship Comes to New Bedford

This year, former whaling hub New Bedford celebrates the return of the Charles W. Morgan, second-oldest ship still fit to sail these Atlantic seas, back to whence it was built. This is the first time the Morgan has returned home since World War II. The sturdy wooden ship is now an historic exhibition, not an active whaling vessel, while New Bedford is a fishing port with no whaling.

PHOTO: USS Constitution sailors perform drills during Boston Harborfest 2013.
Courtesy USS Constitution
USS Constitution sailors perform drills during Boston Harborfest

The only ship in the area older than the Charles W. Morgan and still afloat is the frigate USS Constitution – AKA Old Ironsides. Her home berth in Charlestown Navy Yard is a center of action during the annual Boston Harborfest celebration of Independence Day. From 11:45 AM-12:15 PM on July 4, she’ll ring the sound of freedom with a 21-gun Salute to the Nation.

PHOTO: Declaration of Independence
Courtesy Bostonian Society
Declaration of Independence

On July Fourth, there are multiple dramatic readings of the Declaration of Independence at Old State House and Old North Church. Revolutionary costume characters will lead activities at both venues, and throughout historic Boston. On July 5, Old South Meeting House has organized an all-day (9:30 AM-5 PM) Boston Tea Party-themed scavenger hunt free with museum admission.

PHOTO: July Fourth Parade in Plymouth
Courtesy July 4 Plymouth
July Fourth Parade in Plymouth

The town of Plymouth is proudly known as America’s Hometown, and it fittingly goes all-out for Independence Day. There’s a parade, a 5K run and live entertainment before the fireworks finale. This year, festivities are in honor of the 200th anniversary of the National Anthem, and the theme is Star Spangled Celebration.

PHOTO: Patriotic Pastures
Courtesy Massachusetts Office of Tourism
Patriotic Pastures

Even in the quiet farm country of Western Massachusetts, patriotic spirit runs high, with people flying the red, white and blue even if it’s just for the cows to see.

PHOTO: Sunset over Port of New Bedford
Courtesy New Bedford Whaling Historic National Park
Sunset over Port of New Bedford

With so much good seafood coming in from the harbors, sundown means it’s time for clambakes, oyster roasts or a traditional backyard barbecue if that’s what your group prefers.

PHOTO: Oak Bluffs Fireworks
Courtesy Massachusetts Office of Tourism
Oak Bluffs Fireworks

Once night falls around 9 PM, the skies over Massachusetts will light up with countless fireworks displays, as locals and tourists come out to share patriotic feelings and pride.

PHOTO: Revere Beach National Sand Sculpting Festival, July 18-20
Courtesy Revere Beach National Sand Sculpting Festival
Revere Beach National Sand Sculpting Festival, July 18-20

And that’s truly just the beginning. The very next week, sculptors begin the incredible beachfront groundwork for the annual Revere Beach National Sand Sculpting Festival, which will draw 300,000 people back to this particular beach for a 3-day party. There will be food trucks, live entertainment, and even more fireworks. Let’s hear it for summertime in the USA!

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