Independence Day celebrations start the night before on Nantucket, when the island’s famous beach fireworks display is set off at 9 pm on Sunday, July 3. Best viewing spots include Jetties Beach, Nantucket Sound, the Cliff, and Brant Point. The impressive pyrotechnic display is sponsored by Nantucket Visitor Services. If the weather turns bad, the fireworks will be postponed to Tuesday, July 5.
On Monday, July 4th, Main Street will be closed to traffic till afternoon. The day begins with a reminder of what we are all celebrating with a reading of the Declaration of Independence at 9 am at the Unitarian Church Meeting House, 11 Orange Street. Sousa marches will be played on the 1843 Goodrich Organ, and a patriotic sing along will be held.
The island’s traditional Main Street events and contests begin at 10 am. Watermelon-eating contests and blueberry pie-eating contests will be held for nearly every age group. Face painting, sand art, and balloons will be available for children, and a dunk tank will be offered both for people who want to dunk and to be dunked. There will be judging of decorated bicycles and baby carriages, and also of decorated Main Street windows.
If you don’t want to get wet, make sure you’re well away from Main Street at high noon when the intrepid crew of the Ranney’s antique 1927 LaFrance face off against the Nantucket Fire Department in their pumper. But if you don’t mind the water, this is the highlight of the day for many and something you don’t want to miss!
Family fun continues at 5 pm at Children’s Beach, where Visitors Services will organize games for children including 3-legged races, sack races, wheelbarrow races, and a tug-o-war. Bobby Lamb will twist balloons into fun shapes for kids on the lawn, and at 6:30 pm the Nantucket Community Band will perform on the bandstand. Childrens Cafe will be open for snacks and dinner if you’d like to finish the evening with a family picnic.
Finish the fourth with a tour of the starry skies at the Maria Mitchell Association’s Open Night from 9 to 10:30 pm at their Loines Observatory on the hill at 59 Milk Street Extension.