Fourth of July Guide: Annapolis Region Packed with Fireworks and Parades.
Date: Capital Gazette, June 27, 2016, Wendi Winters
Guess who turns 240 years old Monday? The Declaration of Independence was signed on this date in 1776, and is considered the birthday of the United States of America.
Festivals, music, parades and fireworks have long been the hallmarks of July 4 celebrations — and this long holiday weekend, stretching from Friday through Independence Day on Monday is jam-packed with tons of things to do, see, savor and enjoy.
Here is a brief guide to the Fun!
Now an annual tradition, more than three dozen area residents who emigrated to Maryland from around the world officially become U.S. citizens in the 10th annual naturalization ceremony to be held on the rear terrace of the historic William Paca House and Garden, 186 Prince George St., at 10 a.m. on the Fourth of July. Admission is free.
Seating will be reserved for the new citizens and their invited guests. There will be limited seating and standing room available for the public. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials will administer the Oath of Allegiance. After the naturalization ceremony, the William Paca House and Garden will be open from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Admission to the garden and the tour is included in general admission prices. For information, visit www.annapolis.org.
The City of Annapolis hosts an evening Independence Day parade, the only one in this region. The parade steps off at 6:30 p.m. at Amos Garrett Boulevard and West Street, and heads east on West Street, goes around Church Circle and down Main Street before disbanding at Randall Street at about 7:45 p.m. (In the event of severe rain, thunder or lightning, the parade will be canceled and not rescheduled.)
At 8 p.m. at Susan Campbell Park, the Naval Academy Band, directed by Lt. Cmdr. Diane E. Nichols, inaugurates its Summer Concert Series with a selection of patriotic favorites. After performing its stirring program, the countdown to the fireworks will begin.
At approximately 9:15 p.m., look for Pyrotechnico's dazzling pyrotechnical display from the barge in the Annapolis Harbor.
Susan Campbell Park provides the best view, but the area will be crowded. Other suggested viewing areas are: public spaces northeast of the Severn River like the area around the World War II Memorial, any of the street-end parks facing Spa Creek and aboard your favorite boat.
Boater alert: The draw span of the Spa Creek Bridge will be closed to boat traffic from 8:30-11 p.m. In addition, boaters are warned to avoid the 1,000-foot Safety Zone around the fireworks barge. If the wind changes direction and the barge moves, the Safety Zone will move also.
If you want an on-the-water view but don't own a boat, one on-the-water option is Watermark cruises, which offers several sailing choices over the Independence Day holiday in Annapolis and Baltimore. Check for availability on the Harbor Queen to view the Annapolis fireworks display on July 4 and, on July 3, a fireworks display by a the Sherwood Forest community on the Severn River. For details, visitwww.watermarkcruises.com or call 410-268-7601.
Parking: Downtown streets will be slow and difficult, with traffic jams, and closures of roads and the Eastport Bridge. To avoid sitting in traffic all evening, park your vehicle in a public garage or at the Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
The Circulator trolley will roll continuously along West Street — when the street is open — is $1 per ride for adults and free for kids 12 and under.
Likewise, there will be State Shuttles operating continuously between the Navy Marine Corps Stadium's Gate 5 and Lawyers Mall on College Avenue from 5 p.m. to midnight. Rides will be $1 per person per ride and free for children 12 and under. Parking at the stadium is $5.
Main Street will be closed to traffic from 6 p.m. to midnight. West Street will be closed during the parade, between Westgate Circle and Church Circle, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
The Spa Creek Bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic from Eastport to downtown (and vice versa) from 6 p.m. until the conclusion of the fireworks, approximately 9:30 p.m.
Pedestrians can still access the bridge to view the fireworks.
Parking will be restricted in many areas downtown beginning at noon and extending to 11 p.m. Parking in residential areas is not suggested. Most areas are restricted to two hours. Instead, park in Park Place Garage or Knighton Garage for up to ten hours for $10, and take the $1 Circulator Trolley to Church Circle at the top of Main Street. Then, walk to City Dock.
If you do park on the street, be aware parking will be prohibited from 4 until 10:30 p.m. in several areas of downtown Annapolis, the north side of Eastport, and Bembe Beach Road from Awald Road to the end. Other roads may be restricted to residents only. Violators may be ticketed or towed.
The Circulator will run from 8:30 a.m. to midnight on July 4, except when West Street is closed from 6 to 7:30 p.m. for the parade. Park Place and Knighton garages are along the parade route, so you can step out of a public garage and onto a great viewing spot for the parade.