Martha’s Vineyard celebrates July 4 with parade and fireworks

This illustration by Elizabeth Whelan captures the spirit of the July 4th holiday on Martha's Vineyard. — File photo by Elizabeth Whelan

Martha Vineyard’s Fourth of July festivities include the much-loved Edgartown parade and a rousing display of fireworks that evening.

Islanders and visitors usually begin to line the streets of Edgartown early in anticipation of the July 4 parade. Edgartown police said to expect traffic delays and road closures in the downtown area between 3 pm until approximately 11 pm.

Parade participants are encouraged to be at the Edgartown School at 3 pm. All roads within the downtown parade area will be closed at 4:30 pm, with no exceptions, until 7 pm.

The parade kicks off at 5 pm from the school and proceeds to Main Street and along Pease’s Point Way out to the Harbor View Hotel. The parade returns along North Water Street, up Main Street, and back to the school. Floats are judged at the school prior to the parade.

The official celebration ends with a bang over Edgartown harbor, with a fireworks show sponsored by the Edgartown Board of Trade.

In preparation for the fireworks, immediately after the parade around 6:30 pm, Edgartown police will close Dock Street, lower Main Street, and North Water Street up to the lighthouse to all traffic, other than residents and their guests.

The fireworks will begin shortly after dusk, at approximately 9 pm, fired from a barge moored off the Edgartown Lighthouse. Almost anywhere along the Edgartown waterfront offers a good view of the display. Popular viewing areas are the lighthouse beach, North Water Street, and Dock Street area.

Although downtown parking will be limited, parking will be available at the town lot off Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road near the triangle, with trolley service to the center of town beginning at 7 pm until after the fireworks show. The trolley stop and taxi parking are located on North Water Street, just off Main Street.

Handicapped parking will be available at the Yacht Club parking lot at the foot of Main Street. Handicapped visitors are requested to make their placards visible to the police officers who will be located at Main and Water streets.

Travel to and from the parade and fireworks on Vineyard Transit Authority buses offers another option to avoid heavy traffic and parking concerns.