Crowds along the waterfront on South Main Street in Brewer enjoy a view of the Fourth of July fireworks in Bangor in this BDN file photo. Credit: Michael C. York

People in the Bangor area who appreciate a good explosion can rejoice.

For the first time in almost two decades, the city’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show will be launched from an offshore barge in the Penobscot River, rather than from the solid ground of the city’s waterfront park.

The change will allow the show’s organizer, the Greater Bangor 4th of July Corporation, to use larger shells that can fly a greater distance into the air. However, it will also require the river to be closed for about four or five hours before the 9:30 p.m. show.

The annual show is moving back onto the river in large part because a series of construction projects will be happening along the waterfront over the next couple years, reducing the amount of space available for the launch site.

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“With the waterfront’s continued development, our safety zone has only gotten smaller, and next year we lose it completely,” said Mike Fern, president of the group. “By moving the launchers into the river, we can return to a larger display hundreds of feet in the air with the 5- and 6-inch shells we’ve used in the past.”

The show, which Central Maine Pyrotechnics will run, is part of a daylong set of festivities in the Bangor area celebrating Independence Day.

The festivities will include a pancake breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. at the Brewer Auditorium at 318 Wilson St. in Brewer, followed by a 10:45 a.m. 3K road race starting near the Brewer Auditorium.

At 11 a.m., a parade will go from that area of Brewer to downtown Bangor. The parade will have a theme, “Celebrating the Heritage of the Penobscot River.” It will be led by members of the Orrington Historical Society wearing period dress and includes horse-drawn wagons. The Cole Land Transportation Museum will also provide buses for military veterans who are unable to walk the full length of the parade.

From about 6 p.m. to the start of the fireworks show at 9:30 p.m., a charity concert will be held on the Bangor waterfront with proceeds going to the Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center Foundation. At least two bands, When Particles Collide and the Rolling Stones tribute band the Stone Doctors, will perform.