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Patriotic Primer: Boston Harborfest 2011

Six-day festival will end with annual fireworks display

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HMS First Regiment of Footguards process through the Chowderfest crowds during Boston Harborfest. The six-day patriotic festival starts today at Faneuil Hall. Photo courtesy of Boston Harborfest

Can’t wait until the Fourth of July to get your freedom on? Well, look no further. Boston Harborfest 2011 hoists its sails today.

Marking its 30th anniversary, the six-day festival celebrates Boston’s colonial and maritime heritage and peaks with the annual fireworks display on the Esplanade.

After this morning’s opening ceremony at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, a range of activities are on tap today all over town: an exploration of the State House, a reenactment of the Boston Tea Party aboard the Liberty Clipper (featuring tea-tossing and canon-firing!), kayaking on Grape Island, a tour of the crypt and colonial burying practices at King’s Chapel, and early 19th-century naval gun drills. The list goes on.

Over the years, Harborfest has grown from a local event to a national celebration. In 1982, there were 35 activities over three days. Today, Harborfest is considered the largest patriotic celebration in the nation, with more than 200 events. The rest of the week features extreme sailing, whale watches, concerts, historical reenactments, and, of course, Chowderfest. All main events are held at City Hall Plaza.

Harborfest starts today, June 29, and continues through Monday, July 4. Prices range from free to upwards of $125 (Tall Ship Fireworks Sail on July 4). The full schedule of events is here.

Caleb Daniloff can be reached at cdanilof@bu.edu.

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