Those accustomed to celebrating Independence Day, taking in the Fourth of July fireworks display at Kennebunk Beach, will have to mark America’s birthday another way.

High tides, along with the social distancing rules in place earlier this spring when reservations with pyrotechnic companies had to be made, led to the decision to postpone fireworks until later in the season, said the town managers of Kennebunk and Kennebunkport.

The good news is that the towns, who pool their financial resources together to offer the fireworks display, are eyeing Labor Day weekend as an alternative.

“If COVID infection rates continue the downward trajectory we are seeing now, we will have a great many reasons to celebrate,” said Kennebunk Town Manager Mike Pardue.

High tide on Kennebunk Beach is 8:18 p.m. on July 4, which means there would be no beach area for the crowd that gathers to watch the fireworks, said Pardue.

“Several factors contributed to the decision to postpone the July Fourth event,” said Pardue in an email. “At the time we had to make a “go/no go” decision – the vendor needed to know well in advance – …. physical and social distancing requirements remained in effect, as did large-gathering guidelines. Also, the high tide forecast was not favorable for us, with high tide very close to the proposed “shoot time.” The high tide would have compressed those in attendance, with little to no beach available, forcing spectators into the streets and making compliance with distancing unlikely.”

The municipal boards of the two towns discussed the matter in March and were to notify the vendor of their decision in April.

Gov. Janet Mills lifted capacity and physical distancing limits for public outdoor settings on May 24.

In Kennebunkport, it was believed that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would be using Colony Beach, where folks traditionally gather to watch fireworks, as a staging area. The corps plans to repair to the wing walls and jetties on both sides of the Kennebunk River.

“We are unsure about the impact of the Army Corps project,” said Kennebunkport Town Manager Laurie Smith on Friday, June 18. “At one point it was supposed to be under construction by the Fourth of July, but we have not heard whether they have chosen a contractor and what the start date is.”

Ogunquit canceled its annual fireworks display.

Old Orchard Beach fireworks are set for 9:45 p.m. near the pier and Palace Playland on July 4.

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