PORTLAND — Portland’s 4th of July fireworks this year will be shot from a barge anchored in Casco Bay about 200 feet off the Eastern Promenade shoreline, near Pomeroy Rock, the event organizers said Tuesday.

Moving the fireworks offshore will make the event safer and open up areas that had previously been closed off, including the playgrounds, tennis courts and ball fields, said organizers of the 2012 Stars and Stripes Spectacular.

At the Portland 4th of July fireworks show in 1997, a defective fuse caused a rocket to explode 3 feet off the ground. One man was hospitalized and two people were injured.

In 2010, a utility truck carrying some fireworks caught fire on Portland’s East End Beach shortly after the city’s fireworks show ended around 10 p.m. A fire technician told WCSH-TV that a firework went off a foot above the trailer and set the trailer on fire.

For spectators on the Eastern Promenade, the 2012 fireworks will be visible behind the music stage.

The Portland Symphony Orchestra, led by musical director Robert Moody, will perform a free Patriotic Pops concert to begin around 7:40 p.m. and continue through the finale of the fireworks display over Casco Bay.

The program, which will be announced before the event, will include the 60-member choir noted for performing with the PSO during its popular “Magic of Christmas” show.

“The view from the hill of the stage with the fireworks behind it over Casco Bay will be absolutely stunning,” said Jon Jennings, president and general manager of the Maine Red Claws and one of the founding partners of the privately funded event. Quirk Chevrolet, Wright Express and The Portland Press Herald are also founding partners.

Bangor Savings Bank will be this year’s presenting sponsor.

Fore River Dock and Dredge and Portland Tugs have agreed to provide the barge at no extra cost.

 

Staff Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at: [email protected]