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Whether they’re Independence Day–related or not, summer festivals abound on the North Shore in July. Most have fireworks and food, some have races and games, and a few even have costumes. This guide breaks down the many festivities the region offers this July, from fireworks to parades to long-standing traditions like Newburyport’s Yankee Homecoming. After the cancellations of 2020, last summer saw a slight return toward normalcy with a few fireworks displays and parades returning. This year, even more events join the roster—read on for more details.

Gloucester Independence Day Celebrations

July 3
Gloucester’s Fourth of July celebrations will return this year, with a live concert, the annual Fishtown Horribles Parade, and (maybe) a fireworks display. The free evening kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with live music from Gloucester’s Concerts on the Boulevard series, playing on Stacy Boulevard. The Fishtown Horribles Parade will start at 6 p.m. The earliest Horrible parades over a hundred years ago began at 5 a.m. on July 4th, with farmers bringing their animals and children dressed in “horrible” costumes. The parade since the 1940s, however, has been the evening before July 4th and starts and ends at Gloucester High School. The parade features dozens of floats and bands and 100 “Horribles”: costumes and skits usually taking the theme of a cultural or political happening. Fireworks aren’t confirmed yet, but if they do happen, they’ll be at 9:30 p.m. over Gloucester Harbor.

Gloucester's Stacy Boulevard. Photograph by Wangkun Jia/shutterstock

Marblehead Festival of Arts

July 1-4
On Friday July 1, through Monday, July 4, Marblehead will put on its 2022 arts festival. The four-day festival this year includes daily art exhibits and concerts outdoors at Crocker Park on the water. Saturday will see sand sculptures, a regatta, and a kite festival, while Sunday and Monday will have Artisans Markets at Abbott Hall. More details will come as the festival approaches at

Marblehead Fireworks & Harbor Illumination

July 4
After cancellations in 2020 and 2021, the Marblehead Fourth of July fireworks are back on this year. Starting at 9 p.m. on July 4, the perimeter of the harbor will be illuminated with red flares. The fireworks display begins at 9:15. Folks come by both land and sea to watch the light display, set off from a barge in Marblehead Harbor. 

Yankee Homecoming in Newburyport. Photographs courtesy of Yankee Homecoming

Newburyport’s Yankee Homecoming

July 30-August 7
The summer celebration highlighting Newburyport’s history, businesses, and community runs for nine days in late July and early August this year. The annual event draws folks from near and far, North Shore natives and visitors alike, to experience all the charm of a traditional Yankee Homecoming. This year’s 66th annual event includes beloved favorites like Olde Fashioned Sunday, a waterfront concert series, a daily marketplace, and fireworks on Saturday, August 6, at 9:15 p.m., plus a Battle of the Bands, a Brewfest fundraiser, a road rally, and much more. You can find more details on

Salem celebrates the Fourth. Photograph by Jeff Folger

Salem Celebrates the Fourth

July 2
On Saturday, July 2, Salem holds its Fourth of July festivities on Derby Wharf. The evening features the 42-piece Hillyer Festival Orchestra playing pops-style music, a Kids Space play area, and fireworks over Salem Harbor. Folks are encouraged to bring folding chairs and beach blankets to spread out on the grass and enjoy this quintessential Fourth of July celebration.

Salisbury Beach Fourth of July Celebration 

July 1–4
Salisbury Beach will celebrate Independence Day this year in its typical style, with a weekend of family fun. There will be two concerts on the Oceanfront Stage—the Lisa Love Experience on Saturday, July 2, and Joppa Flats, playing hits from the '70s, '80s, '90s, and today on Monday, July 4. On Sunday, July 3, the Fourth of July Pet Parade returns to Salisbury. Visit for more details on fireworks and other fun performances and activities that weekend.

Wakefield Parade

July 4
After two years off, the largest Fourth of July parade in Massachusetts and the second largest in New England returns to Wakefield. Kicking off at 5 p.m. on July 4, the parade includes floats and bands from all over the East Coast, plus performers, characters, and veterans. The Indepence Day activities don’t stop there—family-friendly programming begins at 7 a.m. with a fishing derby, followed by a pet show, races, food vendors, and other activities throughout the afternoon. After the parade, head to the Lower Common for a concert at the bandstand and fireworks at 9:30 p.m. 

Bluefin Blowout 2022

July 26-28
After a two-year COVID-19 hiatus, the Lyon-Waugh Auto Group’s Bluefin Blowout is back for three days this summer, as some of the best giant tuna fishermen on the East Coast compete out of Gloucester's Cape Ann Marina to reel in the biggest bluefin tuna, raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Association along the way. Spectators are encouraged to gather at Cape Ann Marina for live music, entertainment, and vendors. The weigh station will be open from 1 p.m. each day, where spectators can watch the weighmaster record the weights of the freshly caught giant tunas. The largest tuna ever caught in the tournament topped over 900 pounds. For more information, visit