DANVERS — Get set for one of the biggest fireworks shows on the North Shore.
The annual display at Plains Park in Danvers, on Saturday, July 3, is expected to draw 40,000 people to town for a full array of kids activities, games, vendors, a stage show and, of course, the grand finale — a 28-minute fireworks extravaganza.
Bill and Lois McKenzie will organize the fireworks festival for the second year, after longtime organizer Donny Barnett died of cancer last year.
"He was a person who loved the fireworks," Lois McKenzie said of Barnett. "Everybody loved Donny. His heart and soul was in this, and he lived to see the smiles on people's faces."
Last summer, Barnett gave the McKenzies all of his guidance and input, but since Barnett's passing, the fireworks display is no longer a one-man show.
"He did everything from the port-a-potties to the police to the fireworks themselves," she said. "A lot of the knowledge and the what-ifs ... were always in his head."
This year, 17 people have helped the McKenzies organize the event, which kicks off at 4 p.m. The whole day cost nearly $80,000, according to McKenzie. The event, along with the rest of Danvers Family Festival, is funded entirely by private donations.
Although last year's fireworks show was postponed to the 5th due to rain, organizers this year are confident the weather will be great, with a little help from above.
"We've asked Donny a few times to, you know, help us out," McKenzie said.
Starting at 4, there will be music by DJ Chris Culkeen, a cappella singers Similar Jones and other performers.
There will also be food vendors, games and rides for the kids.
At 7 p.m., the patriotic program will begin in honor of American servicemen and servicewomen. The Civil Air Patrol color guard and members of Operation Troop Support will be on stage for a ceremony, and there will also be a military flyover.
The Danvers Idol winner will perform at 8:30, and the winner of the 50-50 raffle will be announced at 9. The fireworks begin at 9:30.
Those attending the Danvers Fireworks Festival should note that all coolers will be checked, handicapped parking is available in the Danversbank parking lot on a first-come, first-served basis, and park perimeter roads will be closed at 7 a.m.
The rain date is July 5. For more information about the fireworks, including the best viewing and parking areas, visit danversfamilyfestival.com.
Of course, Danvers is not the only place to see the fireworks. Salem, Beverly, Marblehead and Swampscott are also planning shows.
SALEMSFlbFireworks and pops concert
Salem's Fourth of July celebration on Derby Wharf has been growing steadily in recent years. This year's event on Sunday, July 4, begins at 4 p.m. when Kids' Space will open with music, face-painting, crafts, contests and prizes. All children's activities are free. Food and drinks will be on sale all day.
Musical entertainment begins at 5 p.m. with the North Shore band Britannica on the main stage. Opening ceremonies start at 7:15 with a military flyover, followed by a two-hour pops concert by the 40-piece Hillyer Festival Orchestra, performing popular music, light classical, opera and Broadway favorites. A special intermission show will feature a sneak peek performance by members of the Salem State College summer theater cast.
Fireworks begin at 9:15 p.m.
The event is free, and parking is available in downtown lots and city garages. Visit salem.com for updated information.
BEVERLY West Beach fireworks
The annual West Beach fireworks display is set for Sunday, July 4, at 9 p.m. Wristbands are $15 at the gate, or $10 in advance, available at the following Beverly Farms businesses: Dom's Trattoria, Sweetwater & Co., Cork 'n' Cask, and the Bookshop of Beverly Farms. The beach opens to the public at 5. Musical entertainment begins at 5, and a shoreline illumination at 8:45.
Alcoholic beverages, containers and coolers are prohibited. Parking is limited. Rain date is July 5. Visit beverlyfarms.org for updated information.
MARBLEHEAD Fireworks and arts
The Fourth of July fireworks display over Marblehead Harbor is the culmination of the town's weekend arts festival. The fireworks begin Sunday, July 4, at 9 p.m. following the harbor illumination at 8:45. Prime viewing points are available all around the harbor and at Fort Sewall, Chandler Hovey Park and Crocker Park.
Crocker Park is also the venue for live music performances that evening beginning at 6 p.m. KBMG, a folk rock band, performs from 6 to 7:30 p.m., followed by Adam Ezra Group, a roots/rock band from 8 to 10:30 p.m.
Parking will be limited. Handicapped parking is available at Riverhead Beach. Beginning at 7 p.m., Front Street will be closed and there will be no parking between Franklin Street and Fort Sewall Lane. The Marblehead Causeway will remain open throughout the day and evening, but there is no parking on the Causeway.
Visit marbleheadfireworks.org for updated information.
SWAMPSCOTTSFlbFireworks at the beach
Swampscott and Lynn plan their festivities together at King's Beach on the night before the Fourth, Saturday, July 3, at 9 p.m. A pre-fireworks concert begins at 7 p.m. at Red Rock Park, featuring Lois Lane & the Daily Planets. Lynn Shore Drive and surrounding streets will close at 7:30 for the entire evening. Parking is limited.