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As Americans prepared to celebrate the nation’s 238th birthday, Hurricane Arthur forced several East Coast cities to switch the dates of their Fourth of July fireworks shows.
Boston officials moved the annual Boston Pops July 4 concert and fireworks from Friday to Thursday because of potential heavy rain. They said they were rescheduling the celebration to the better of two bad-weather days.
The performance takes place in the Hatch Shell along the Charles River Esplanade, with fireworks set off from barges on the river. Hundreds of thousands of people usually attend.
“It’s not optimal. We wish it were, but we’ve got to deal with this,” state police Col. Timothy Alben said.
He said security arrangements were already in place, because the public final rehearsal would have been held Thursday night anyway.
Alben said officials recognize that afternoon road closings ahead of the show will affect traffic on a workday. People were urged to use public transportation.
Alben said the performance could be canceled Thursday if the weather conditions make proceeding unsafe. Because of performer contracts, Alben said the concert cannot be pushed to Saturday. However, he said the fireworks show perhaps could be.
If the celebration takes place Thursday, the fireworks display will be streamed live for the first time starting at 8 p.m. on www.BOSTONPOPSJULY4.org and www.CBSBOSTON.com. The webcast also will be available for 24 days on demand at www.BOSTONPOPSJULY4.org.
The concert has been delayed in the past because of threatening weather during a performance, and the fireworks have been rescheduled.
Arthur is forecast to pass well east of New England beginning Friday night. Moisture bands ahead of the storm are expected to bring rain and thunderstorms.
Other Massachusetts communities also have rescheduled fireworks shows because of the weather.
Augusta, Maine, moved its fireworks display to Aug. 2 while several New Hampshire cities moved their fireworks shows to either Saturday or Sunday. In New Jersey, Atlantic City and Ocean City moved their fireworks to Sunday.
In New York City the annual Macy’s fireworks show will be back on the East River after five years on the Hudson River. A spokesman said the show, the largest Fourth of July fireworks display in the nation, will go on no matter what Friday’s weather brings.
Some communities had considered canceling community fireworks displays on Friday, but many are taking place as planned. In Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, officials moved a Thursday night pops orchestra concert indoors, but said the annual July 4 concert featuring the Roots and a fireworks display would go on regardless of rain.
In Washington, D.C., composer John Williams was set to debut a new arrangement of “The Star-Spangled Banner” featuring choirs, trumpets, an orchestra and cannons on the National Mall on Friday.
This year marks the anthem’s 200th anniversary. It was in September 1814 when Francis Scott Key was inspired by the sight of the flag over Baltimore’s Fort McHenry after a 25-hour British bombardment.
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Jamie Lee Curtis
Monday Night Football