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Tradition Inspires July 4th Festivities

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Welcome to Boston, the cradle of independence, the city where it all began in America's quest for separation from English rule. Home to such historic milestones as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party and the beginning of the Revolutionary War itself, Boston was at the center of the fight, every step of the way.

Except for one. Philadelphia stole the show on July 4, 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed in its Independence Hall.

Not a city to take this sort of defeat lying down, Boston has a spectacular tradition of Fourth of July events, from parades to festivals to concerts, that will make you stand up and cheer.

Starting off the festivities is Boston's annual Harborfest, a five-day event running from July 2-7, featuring music, food and, of course, history.

Based in historic Faneuil Hall (T: Government Center), Harborfest highlights the many historic sites in downtown Boston with guided tours and re-enactments scheduled throughout the week.

On the Fourth itself, the festivities begin at 9 a.m. with the raising of the flag in City Hall Plaza, accompanied by the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts.

A parade begins there and proceeds along Boston's Freedom Trail, stopping to lay wreaths on the graves of the city's original signers of the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine and Peter Faneuil.

The parade stops again at the Old State House where the Declaration of Independence is read from the balcony, a tradition dating back to its first reading there on July 18, 1776.

Festivities continue at Faneuil Hall throughout the day, including patriotic readings, food and live music.

The big event, however, is at night. Starting at 8 p.m., the Boston Pops plays the annual concert in the Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade (T: Charles/MGH), featuring the Pops' special holiday program "A salute to the American Musical," a patriotic sing-along, fireworks, and a rendition of the 1812 Overture punctuated with real cannon fire.

The Harvard Summer School Office has organized three trips during the day to shuttle students to these events, according to Elizabeth A. Page '88, director of the summer school activities program.

One group will leave at 9 a.m. for the parade in Boston and another at 12:30 p.m. for the Esplanade. A third group will leave in the evening to watch the fireworks from Boston's North End.

While there is no way to tell how many students will take advantage of these trips, Page said they have always been well-attended in the past.

Students need not sign up beforehand. Trips leave from the courtyard at 51 Brattle St. Students should gather there 15 minutes before the scheduled departure, Page said.

Most students interviewed said they planned to go to the Esplanade to view the fireworks, although many said they thought the Harvard departure time of 12:30 p.m.--seven-and-a-half hours before the show is set to start--would be too late to get a good spot.

"I think we're going to go down early, probably around 11," said Andrew K. Weiss, a summer school student living in Wigglesworth K. "I'm hoping for a big show."

Weiss said, however, that he and his friends are worried about the weather.

"It all depends on the rain," he said. "If it rains, we're going to see 'Independence Day.'

On the Fourth itself, the festivities begin at 9 a.m. with the raising of the flag in City Hall Plaza, accompanied by the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts.

A parade begins there and proceeds along Boston's Freedom Trail, stopping to lay wreaths on the graves of the city's original signers of the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine and Peter Faneuil.

The parade stops again at the Old State House where the Declaration of Independence is read from the balcony, a tradition dating back to its first reading there on July 18, 1776.

Festivities continue at Faneuil Hall throughout the day, including patriotic readings, food and live music.

The big event, however, is at night. Starting at 8 p.m., the Boston Pops plays the annual concert in the Hatch Shell on the Charles River Esplanade (T: Charles/MGH), featuring the Pops' special holiday program "A salute to the American Musical," a patriotic sing-along, fireworks, and a rendition of the 1812 Overture punctuated with real cannon fire.

The Harvard Summer School Office has organized three trips during the day to shuttle students to these events, according to Elizabeth A. Page '88, director of the summer school activities program.

One group will leave at 9 a.m. for the parade in Boston and another at 12:30 p.m. for the Esplanade. A third group will leave in the evening to watch the fireworks from Boston's North End.

While there is no way to tell how many students will take advantage of these trips, Page said they have always been well-attended in the past.

Students need not sign up beforehand. Trips leave from the courtyard at 51 Brattle St. Students should gather there 15 minutes before the scheduled departure, Page said.

Most students interviewed said they planned to go to the Esplanade to view the fireworks, although many said they thought the Harvard departure time of 12:30 p.m.--seven-and-a-half hours before the show is set to start--would be too late to get a good spot.

"I think we're going to go down early, probably around 11," said Andrew K. Weiss, a summer school student living in Wigglesworth K. "I'm hoping for a big show."

Weiss said, however, that he and his friends are worried about the weather.

"It all depends on the rain," he said. "If it rains, we're going to see 'Independence Day.'

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