With the Fourth of July upon us, almost all the pre-pandemic celebrations are back on after two years of cancellations and uncertainty. Baltimore, for example, holds its first big fireworks display since 2019.
Of course there are exceptions: Chestertown, Md., a Fourth of July favorite for decades, will not have fireworks this time. They canceled their 2019 show due to budget cuts, before the pandemic was on the horizon, and have not brought the show back, opting for fireworks on other weekends of the year.
Ocean City had to cancel its 2021 fireworks display due to an accidental discharge while the explosives were being set up, as Bay Bulletin reported. This year, there will not be fireworks on the fourth for a different reason. The company contracted by the beach town is dealing with staffing shortages. Instead of shows both uptown and downtown on the 4th, Ocean City announced fireworks will go off July 3 at the north end of town and July 5 down .
“You know what they say when things don’t go as planned,” says City Manager Terry McGean. “You make a new plan, which is exactly what we’ve done.”
In Middle River, the Marine Trades Association of Baltimore County is working until the last minute to raise funds for its show. Local restaurants are holding fundraisers this week, including Carsons Creekside (Wednesday, June 29) and Sunset Cove (Thursday, June 30). Raffle tickets are also for sale; email [email protected].
Unpredictability aside, fireworks (especially those viewed from a boat) are a time-honored Chesapeake tradition. Here’s the lineup of the major displays from all corners of the Bay.
North East, July 3. The Salute to Cecil County Veterans 30th Fireworks show will be held at North East Town Park in North East. Military personnel, equipment, and vehicles will be present, along with face painting and a rubber ducky race. Ceremony begins at 6 p.m., with a “secret special event” starting at 8.
Middle River, July 2. Sponsored by the Marine Trades Association of Baltimore County (MTABC), this display is in its 26th year.
Baltimore, July 4. Along the Inner Harbor promenade, the events begin at 3:30 p.m. and include live music, a spoken-word presentation of Frederick Douglass’s “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”, a BSO Orchestra performance, and finally fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
St. Michaels, July 2 (rain date, July 3). Bring your lawn chairs and find a good spot in town. The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) will be open to the public for viewing. Or come by boat and anchor out in the Miles River. The dusk display follows CBMM’s Big Band Night featuring The Shades of Blue Orchestra. The orchestra begins at 7 p.m.
Crisfield, July 2. Watch the fireworks at 9 p.m. as part of Stars and Stripes Fest celebrating Crisfield’s 150th anniversary. Beginning at 4 p.m., it also includes food, live music, historic demos, and a skipjack on display.
Havre de Grace, July 4. At Concord Point Park, patriotic music will be performed by the Maryland Military Band beginning at 7:30 p.m. Fireworks are shot from a barge directly in front of this location, starting at approximately 9:30 pm.
Annapolis, July 4. The celebration begins with a parade at 6:30 p.m. at Amos Garrett Boulevard, proceeding along West Street, around Church Circle, and down Main Street. Following the parade at 8 p.m., the United States Naval Academy Band will perform patriotic music followed by the Blues & Gold at Annapolis City Dock. The fireworks display will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m. The best public places to watch are northeast of the Severn River, City Dock, along the Naval Academy Bridge (limited parking area), any of the street end parks facing Spa Creek, and aboard a boat in the Annapolis harbor.
Kent Island, July 4. The Family Fireworks Celebration takes place at 9:15 p.m. at the Chesapeake Heritage & Visitors Center in Chester, Md. There’s a free shuttle from parking at the Queenstown outlets. Prior to fireworks, Queen Anne’s County offers face painting, balloon twist and bounce houses for kids, free of charge, starting at 6 p.m.
Solomons, July 4. The Solomons Business Association (SBA) holds a patriotic day live music performances, historical readings, an interactive, American-history themed treasure hunt for kids, and an aerial fly-by. Fireworks start at around 9:15pm from a barge located 800 feet off the shoreline. Watch from the Solomons riverwalk or by boat. The community has been raising funds on the Save Solomons Fireworks Facebook page, but a week out, they were still well short of their goal.
Easton, July 4 (rain date July 5). Enjoy rides, carnival food, music, and fireworks. The Easton Carnival takes place on the corner of MD Route 33 (St. Michael’s Road) and MD Route 322 (Easton Parkway) beginning at 6 p.m. with fireworks starting at dusk, around 9 p.m.
Cambridge, July 4. A fireworks show over the Choptank River at dusk (usually a little bit after 9pm). Best viewing spots include Great Marsh Park, near Somerset Avenue and Hambrooks Boulevard and Long Wharf Park, near High and Water Streets.
Ocean City, July 3 & 5. The usual simultaneous displays held on the 4th are split into a condensed show July 3 at Northside Park, beginning at 9 p.m. after a live concert, and a larger display on July 5 with more live music at the Caroline Street Stage and a “unique Firework Show” with “nontraditional surprises” beginning at 9 :30 p.m., which is best enjoyed from the beach between the amusement pier and 3rd Street, the city says.
Urbanna, July 1. Things kick off at Urbanna Town Marina at Upton’s Point with a DJ. A boat parade begins at 6 p.m. with a contest for best boat decorations. Fireworks over Urbanna Creek go off at 9 p.m. Watch from land or anchor out.
City of Chesapeake, July 3. Celebrate America’s Birthday with patriotic bands providing stirring patriotic sounds, with fireworks beginning around 9:30 p.m.
Norfolk, July 4. The Great American Picnic & Fireworks at Town Point Park gets underway at 5 p.m. with an all-American cookout of hot dogs, hamburgers, seafood, cotton candy, etc. with military brass bands for entertainment. Fireworks go off at 9:30 p.m. high above the Elizabeth River.
Portsmouth, July 4. Fireworks begin around 9:30 p.m. and the best viewing is at the north end of Olde Towne. A Beach Music party starts the night off at 5 p.m. and then at 8 p.m., patriotic music at High Street Landing ushers in the fireworks.
Virginia Beach, July 4. Two different fireworks displays on the Fourth of July! The Stars and Stripes Celebration has live music on multiple stages at the oceanfront beginning at 7 p.m., with fireworks at 9:30. The 4th of July Celebration at Mount Trashmore features a fireworks display that also begins at 9:30.
Suffolk, July 4. The Stars and Stripes Spectacular features fireworks over the Nansemond River at Constant’s Wharf Park and Marina. The show will begin at 9:00 p.m., with bands and fun prior. There will be free shuttles from the First Baptist Church, Godwin Courts, and Suffolk Municipal Building parking lots beginning at 5:15.
Historic Williamsburg, July 4. Fireworks will be ignited at 9:30 p.m. at the Governor’s Palace and last about 20 minutes. The best locations for viewing are on Palace Green, Market Square and the Lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg on the eastern side. There’s a full day of patriotic colonial events leading up to the show.
Yorktown, July 4. Evening activities include a bell-ringing ceremony, jazz concert, and an amazing firework display over the York River that goes off at 9:15 p.m.
National Mall, July 4. The 17-minute display is one of the largest in the nation. Fireworks will start at 9:09 p.m. and will be launched from both sides of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. The day’s festivities begin at 11:45 a.m. with a parade of of bands, floats, balloons, celebrities and more head from 7th to 17th Street.
Don’t see your town’s fireworks listed? Please email [email protected].