BAR HARBOR — Fireworks over the ocean in two towns, a parade, blueberry pancake breakfast, seafood festival, free concerts and more will help Mount Desert Island residents and visitors celebrate Independence Day on Saturday.
The fun begins bright and early in Bar Harbor at 6 a.m. with the annual Bar Harbor Rotary Club blueberry pancake breakfast at the town’s athletic fields on lower Main Street. It features blueberry and plain pancakes, sausage, sausage and egg sandwiches, coffee, tea, juice and plenty of maple syrup. It runs until 10 a.m.
Activity at the fields increases prior to the start of the parade at 10 a.m. The parade heads downtown on Main Street, across Cottage Street, back along Eden Street to Mount Desert Street, right onto Ledgelawn Avenue and back to the fields. See map of parade route below.
The theme of this year’s festivities, including the parade, is “Arts of America.” Last year’s Acadia Arts Achievement Award winners Ivan and Sherry Rasmussen are the parade’s grand marshals, riding in an antique automobile provided by the Seal Cove Auto Museum.
“This parade is an opportunity for the local merchants and organizations to show the pride we all have in our town, region and the state of Maine,” said Nancy McKechnie, executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce. “We are expecting another great display of patriotism, as well as a demonstration of the area’s commitment to the arts. It is going be a lot of fun, and we can’t wait to celebrate with you!”
Each parade entry will be scored by a panel of judges, with trophies being awarded for these categories: most creative, best youth entry and best theme depiction. Keep an eye out for Emera Maine’s electric car in the parade, as they will once again be the Fourth of July Green Sponsor.
Back at the athletic fields, the Rotary’s Annual Seafood and Lobster Festival gets underway at 11 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m. A complete shore dinner, including lobster, corn, steamed mussels, chips and a beverage, is just $25. Lobster and crabmeat rolls, hamburgers and hotdogs, veggie burgers, french fries and more are also on the a la carte menu.
At the same time, more than a dozen other area nonprofit organizations will be offering booths with everything from lemonade and cupcakes, to whoopie pies, to strawberry shortcake. There will be a silent auction, pie sale, used clothing sale, children’s games and raffles.
The MDI YMCA also will be holding its annual lobster races where attendees can place bets on sponsored lobsters as they head down a stepped track to victory.
All proceeds from all the activities support area charities.
Because of the traffic disruption due to the parade, the Island Explorer shuttle buses will run on a special schedule. Visit www.exploreacadia.com for details.
Later in the afternoon, The Harborplace Concert Series will feature three Maine-based bands on the town pier leading up to the fireworks. The Blake Rosso Band will kick off the series at 3:30 p.m. with a mix of upbeat cover songs and original work. Following at 5:30 p.m. will be Portland-based Gunther Brown and their rock/country stylings.
Finishing off the Concert Series will be the popular Sly Chi, playing their hybrid of funk, soul, R&B, jazz and some classic rock.
As the day turns to evening, the annual fireworks display will light up the sky over Frenchman Bay beginning at approximately 9:15 p.m.
Fireworks are also planned over Southwest Harbor at dusk.
In the event the fireworks are called off due to inclement weather, notices will be posted on social media, including the Mount Desert Islander’s Facebook page.
Because of heavy traffic leaving Bar Harbor after the fireworks, police will restrict routes motorists can choose. Specifically, drivers on Mount Desert Street will not be allowed to head north on Eden Street and will, instead, be directed over the Eagle Lake Road, Route 233, towards Somesville. See related map below.
For more information, call the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce at 288-5103 or visit www.barharborinfo.com.