Harborfest 2008

If you want to celebrate Independence Day in proper patriotic style, head for Boston.

The annual Boston Harborfest is a multi-day Fourth of July celebration featuring hundreds of events throughout the historic city. Many events are free. Harborfest attracts more than 2.5 million visitors to Boston each July, making it the nation's largest patriotic celebration.

Boston Harborfest features a variety of historic tours, concerts, Revolutionary era reenactments and children's activities. Highlights of the annual event include Chowderfest (on July 6 in 2008), a unique opportunity to sample Boston's best chowder concoctions, and the 4th of July fireworks over the Charles River, accompanied by the Boston Pops.

Tuesday, July 1
Opening Ceremony — Faneuil Hall, Noon

Wednesday, July 2
Children's Day — City Hall Plaza, 10 am to 3 pm
A day of children's activities, including face painting, sing-alongs, balloon animals, and more.

Thursday, July 3
The Flounders concert — City Hall Plaza, Noon
Mad Sweet Pangs concert — City Hall Plaza, 4 pm

Friday, July 4:
Royal Hospital School Band concert — City Hall Plaza, Noon
Dan Lawson Band concert — City Hall Plaza, 2 pm

Saturday, July 5:
The Dramatix concert — City Hall Plaza, Noon
Party on the Plaza — City Hall Plaza, 6 pm to 10 pm

Sunday, July 6:
Chowderfest — City Hall Plaza, 11 am to 6 pm

As most residents know, the annual Independence Day festivities featuring the Boston Pops occurs over two days in the city, the actual holiday and the day before it. As a result, the Boston Pops will perform an 8:30pm concert on both Thursday, July 3, and Friday, July 4.

There is a difference between the shows, however. The first concert will end a half-hour earlier, at 10pm, and will not include the eye-popping 30-minute fireworks display set to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, special country music guests Rascal Flatts, host Craig Ferguson of the CBS program The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, or the 8:36pm flyover by the Air National Guard’s 104th Fighter Wing and the Air Force’s 131st Fighter Squadron.

Those who can’t make it to the Esplanade and surrounding areas on July 4th have a couple of alternative options to still reap the benefits of the production. Television station WBZ will broadcast it locally starting at 8pm, while the network CBS will do the same nationwide at 10pm.