Boston Harborfest 2014: Just the Free Events

More than 200 events are scheduled across five days for the 33rd annual Fourth of July festival.

Independence Day is upon us, and while the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular is probably what Boston residents associate most with the contemporary Fourth of July celebrations, you’d be remiss to overlook another annual tradition that’s been taking place for 33 years—Boston Harborfest.

More than 200 events are scheduled across five days for this year’s Harborfest, a five-day festival that emphasizes the historical side of the Fourth of July.

Here are some select free events to look forward to during Boston Harborfest 2014. For the full day-by-day schedule, visit

Wednesday, 12 p.m.: Opening ceremony with Mayor Marty Walsh. Free, Faneuil Hall.

Daily, Wednesday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.: Visit the USS Oak Hill. Free, Boston Marine Terminal, Fid Kennedy Ave., South Boston.

Daily, Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: Visit the USS Cassin YoungFree, Charlestown Navy Yard.

Daily, Wednesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.: Hands-on activities at the USS Constitution Museum include checkouts of sea bag kits that teach national symbols and tools of the trade; gun and boarding pike drills with replica 24-pound long guns (11 a.m.), and a concert at sunset on Sunday. Plus: the Constitution’s annual turnaround cruise is on Friday, July 4 (Salute to the Nation with 21-gun salute off Castle Island from 11:45 a.m.-12 p.m., consider taking a cruise to check it out). Free with suggested donation, Charlestown Navy Yard.

Daily, Wednesday-Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.: 18th century chocolate-making demonstrations. Free, but “donations appreciated,” 21 Unity St., North End.

Daily, Wednesday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Freedom Trail Tours: “Meetings, Mobs, and Martyrs,” “From Allegiance to Revolution,” and “Taking the High Ground.” Free, Faneuil Hall Visitor Center.

Wednesday, 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.: Meet Paul Revere. He’ll read Longfellow’s poem “Paul Revere’s Ride” and answer the questions your kids have just been dying to ask. For example, “Mr. Revere, how was the cell service back in 1775?” Free, Old North Church.

Friday, 10 a.m.: Reading of the Declaration of Independence. From the balcony like it was done in 1776. Free, Old State House.

Friday, 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m.: Dramatic Readings of the Declaration of Independence. Dramatic, because Old North Church really wants to one-up the Old State House. Free, Old North Church.

Friday, 4-7 p.m.: Otis House Open House. Free, Otis House.

Friday, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.: A traditional oration in “the Cradle of Liberty” by a “prominent citizen.” Free, Faneuil Hall.



Boston Harborfest 2014 takes place July 2 through 6. For more info, visit