AUGUSTA — The fireworks show grounded by thunderstorms on the Fourth of July is set for a relaunch Saturday night, to top off AugustaFest festivities downtown.

Events start at 2 p.m. and wrap up with the fireworks around 9 p.m.

In between is a car show, kids’ activities, demonstrations, live music from several performers on the waterfront as well as wandering performers, food and craft vendors, and a beer garden, starting at 4 p.m., where those 21 or older can have a beer while taking in the activities and adjacent Kennebec River.

“It’s a great way to spend a summer Saturday,” said Steve Pecukonis, downtown manager and executive director of the Augusta Downtown Alliance. “Come be a part of the excitement and revival going on downtown, and celebrate what we have here in Augusta. We’ve made such incredible gains downtown the past four or five years, we want to take a turn to show it off.”

Earlier this year, the City Council authorized the downtown alliance to have a beer garden, run by staff from Augusta restaurant Lisa’s, as part of the celebration. AugustaFest has had a beer garden since it started a few years ago.

Deputy Police Chief Jared Mills said there have been no problems associated with the beer garden in the past, and police have not heard of reports of drunkenness there.

He said he’s neither seen nor heard of any activity taking place at AugustaFest downtown that should concern anyone pondering whether to bring their family to the event.

Mills also said recently increased police patrols downtown, in response to the concerns of downtown merchants and workers about illegal and intimidating behavior by some vagrants there, have been successful at improving the atmosphere downtown.

“It has been very positive and effective,” he said of the stepped-up police patrols downtown. “I have met with many business owners and all have said the conditions have drastically improved.”

Pecukonis said the beer garden is not meant to be a highlight of, nor major reason for, AugustaFest.

“It’s just another way for people to enjoy being on the river on a beautiful evening, hear some music, and enjoy the city,” he said of the beer garden.

Family-friendly events Saturday include bounce houses, games, touch-a-truck, a Maine Warden Service display, dunk tank, Children’s Discovery Museum activities and strongman and fitness demonstrations.

Events will be in the Front Street parking lot and waterfront park.

Musical acts include singer-songwriter Samantha Lynn, a rock trio led by Ed Desjardins, Who tribute band Magic Bus, and, headliner band Pat Pepin Project, which Pecukonis said plays music that is “funky, bluesy and jazzy.” Other performers will also play in between those featured bands.

Fireworks will be shot off from across the river at the east side boat launch.

That’s where the city had planned to have them shot from on the Fourth of July, until heavy rains and thunderstorms forced the fireworks to be canceled.

So, instead, the city-funded fireworks show will take place Saturday.

Pecukonis said AugustaFest events will take place rain or shine — though there is always a chance the fireworks could be canceled or postponed for weather-related safety concerns.

The National Weather Service’s forecast for Saturday shows a high of 76 degrees and a 30 percent chance of scattered rain.

Just across the Kennebec River this weekend, Fort Western will also host a French and Indian War encampment. Participants in the re-enactment include Samuel Goodwin’s Company, the Pequawket Alliance, and local blacksmith Jeff Miller.

Visitors to the historic fort site will be able to experience garrison life during the French and Indian War, which took place between 1754 and 1763, hear muskets and cannons fire, learn to march with soldiers, visit a doctor in the fort’s barracks, see soldiers row in a bateau on the river, and interact with re-enactors. The fort will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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