Portland’s Fourth of July celebration has been cancelled but a fireworks display, by itself, may still be held. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Portland’s annual Fourth of July celebration will not be held this year, at least not in its full form.

The annual celebration featuring the Portland Symphony Orchestra performing on the Eastern Promenade will not happen in 2021 because of health and safety concerns, organizers announced Friday.

But the city of Portland may still put on a fireworks display, according to a joint news release from event organizer Shamrock Sports & Entertainment, the PSO and the city. City spokesperson Jessica Grondin said City Manager Jon Jennings plans to include about $30,000 for the fireworks display in his budget proposal. The PSO may also have some kind of summer performance, the release said.

“The City of Portland is considering the feasibility of offering fireworks and the PSO is exploring a summer presence,” the release said.

The city’s free Fourth of July event usually attracts thousands to the grassy hill on the Eastern Promenade well before dark on July 4. People set up picnic spots, and buy food and souvenirs from vendors. Casco Bay fills with boats as people watch the fireworks from the water.

The Portland Symphony Orchestra has entertained the crowds before and during the fireworks most years since 2010. The event, fireworks included, was canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Portland Pops concert was also canceled in 2018 because of a lack of funding, though the rest of the celebration went on as usual. The orchestra returned for the 2019 event.


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