Portland postponed the city’s fireworks and other Independence Day festivities along the Eastern Promenade until Saturday based on forecasts for stormy weather Friday.
Some other communities around the state also postponed their displays, with most hoping to fire them up on Saturday – unless the weather interferes again.
Organizers rescheduled Portland’s annual “Stars and Stripes Spectacular” to Saturday at 9:20 p.m. in response to the storm track of Hurricane Arthur. The hurricane was expected to remain out to sea, but it is likely to bring rain, thunderstorms and high surf to Maine throughout much of the day and night Friday. The National Weather Service projected mostly clear conditions for Saturday night.
All related Portland events originally scheduled for Friday – as well as parking and road restrictions – will occur at the same times on Saturday.
“The expectation is for a lot of rain (Friday), and the safety and the well-being of everyone in attendance plus the Portland Symphony Orchestra is paramount to us,” said Jon Jennings, board member of July 4th Portland, which works with the city to coordinate the event.
Cities all along the Eastern Seaboard adjusted their holiday plans in response to Hurricane Arthur, which is expected to brush the North Carolina coast late Thursday into early Friday. The most recent projections show Arthur remaining at sea as it tracks up the East Coast before rolling over Nova Scotia on Saturday morning.
Augusta opted to move its fireworks display to Aug. 2, although a parade and the Old Fort Western Independence Day Celebration are scheduled to continue Friday as planned. Friday’s Lewiston/Auburn Liberty Festival was rescheduled for Sunday.
Sanford and Ogunquit were among the other Maine communities to delay fireworks from Friday to Saturday. The possibility of windy conditions on Saturday could delay the events again, some communities warned.
Other Maine towns, including Thomaston, said they hoped to stick to their original plan and have their fireworks displays Friday.
An estimated 60,000 to 70,000 spectators typically watch Portland’s “Stars and Stripes Spectacular,” according to event organizers. The Portland Press Herald/MaineToday Media is a founding partner and major sponsor of the annual light show.
Opening ceremonies for the fireworks are scheduled to begin Saturday at 7 p.m. on the Eastern Promenade, followed by the Portland Symphony Orchestra’s “Patriotic Pops” performance beginning at 7:40 p.m. Fireworks are scheduled to begin at 9:20 p.m.
For more information on Portland’s holiday events – including weather-related updates to the schedule – go to www.july4thportland.org.