HAMPTON – This year’s 4th of July celebration in Hampton Beach is booming, with miles of sand, surf, fun and games, and hopefully a fireworks display worthy of the nation’s Independence Day.
Memorial Day fireworks were canceled this year to protect eight piping plover nests, the highest number of nesting plovers in many years at Hampton Beach, according to wildlife biologist Brendan Clifford New Hampshire Fish and Game. Although the little birds are still there, Clifford said, the July 4 fireworks should go ahead unless conditions change. The hope is that all factors, including the weather, will cooperate.
The fireworks in Hampton Beach go off at 9:30 p.m. Monday at the top of B and C streets. Those planning to attend are encouraged to check before you go by calling 603-926-8717 or visiting the Facebook page of Hampton Beach for the latest update. Residents of the city can also stop by the information center.
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According to Chuck Rage, a longtime Hampton Beach businessman and coach, those planning to come for the fireworks should arrive early to secure a parking spot.
There is plenty to do while waiting for the fireworks. Kids can visit the playground and the beach, and kids of all ages can enjoy the shopping, games, activities, and food offered throughout Hampton Beach’s bustling center.
Here is the concert lineup for the 4th of July weekend at the Seashell Stage
There will be free concerts at Seashell Stage on Ocean Boulevard every night over the 4th of July weekend, Rage said. There are two performances each evening, the first starting at 7 p.m. and the second at 8:30 p.m.
The weekend kicks off Friday night, July 1, when Groove Alliance takes the stage with its nine-piece band, vocalists, and rhythm section.
The 39th Army Band performs Saturday night, July 2. Its theme this year is “Play Hard or Go Home,” according to Rage.
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The Tenderhëds take to the Seashell stage on Sunday July 3. Featuring two-time New England Music Award winner Munk Duane, the group puts a new and unique spin on some of the greatest hits.
And on July 4, the Mainlanders take their traditional place on center stage, as they have done for years to celebrate Independence Day in Hampton Beach.
Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom is also offering two bands during the 4th of July weekend. On Friday July 1, the Dark Star Orchestra performs and on Saturday evening July 2, Badfish! A Tribute to Sublime with Joe Samba is on stage. Shows start at 8 p.m. and for tickets and more information, visit casinoballroom.com.
Hampton police prepare for large crowds
Hampton Police are planning the popular holiday weekend, which can draw 100,000 people to Hampton Beach. Dozens of officers will be on hand to ensure a safe vacation, Hampton Deputy Police Chief Alex Reno said, and he offered some helpful tips for those planning to visit.
“We are going to have a large influx of visitors and we ask everyone to be patient when entering and exiting the beach,” Reno said, as large crowds can cause safety issues. “We ask people to use the crosswalks, but they don’t always do it. So we ask drivers to drive slowly and be patient with pedestrians.
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To speed up travel off the beach after the fireworks, Reno said, police established a successful travel pattern after years of experience clearing up crowds. Reno advises drivers to ignore their GPS and follow signs posted throughout the beach that will direct drivers off the beach. Trying to circumvent the established traffic pattern will only cause more traffic jams which will need to be cleared and will only delay things unnecessarily, he said.
Reno recalled that Hampton does not allow the use of personal fireworks on the beach or anywhere in town, and that open liquor containers are not permitted in public places.
Reno advises visitors and residents to drink responsibly and not to drink and drive or text while driving. And in New Hampshire, drivers cannot use cell phones or mobile devices while driving.
“We want people to come and have fun,” Reno said, “but we want them to have fun safely.”