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July 4 Festivities


Oh say can you see, the spectacular fireworks that are put on at dusk each year on the Fourth of July in the Kennebunks?

Of course you can — if you know where to go. The fireworks are actually set off near the jetty by Kennebunk Beach, but there are great viewing spots all around. Here are some of our favorite locations:

* At Kennebunk Beach. Come early, park the car (a parking pass is required) and spend some time relaxing before the show starts around dusk. Bring your own chair or blanket and a picnic dinner. The whole beach has a party feeling. Remember: leaving may be a bit slow-going, but not as bad as you think it might be.

* At St. Ann’s on Ocean Avenue in Kennebunkport. Park along Ocean Avenue or on side streets (the police will direct you) and walk to St. Ann’s, where you’ll have a gorgeous panoramic view of the fireworks. This location, too, has a party feel, as hundreds gather to watch. Please note the parking lot will be cleared of cars and gates will be closed at 4 p.m. The grounds will be open at 6 p.m. to foot traffic only.

* From the water. Get out on the water for a spectacular up-close-and-personal view of the fireworks on the Atlantic Ocan, just beyond the breakwater, aboard the Kylie's Chance. Cost is $25, and a cash-only beer and wine bar is available. The boat leaves at 8 p.m.; please arrive at least 30 minutes prior to this trip as parking is expected to fill up (first-come, first-serve).

* From the Nonantum lawn. This Ocean Avenue resort will host a lobster bake and a full concert by the Casco Bay Wind Symphony on their back lawn. Buffet dinner begins at 6 p.m., followed by the concert at 7:30, and fireworks at dusk, around 9:15. Reservations are strongly encouraged. Tickets are $75 -- $25 for children 12 and younger -- which includes dinner, concert and fireworks. Cash bar available. Visit the Nonantum's website for more information and the menu.

* At one of the great waterfront restaurants in the area. Try a cocktail out on the lawn at the Colony or the Nonantum,  both on Ocean Avenue, which both offer great views of the fireworks. How about dinner at Stripers at the Breakwater Inn, followed by catching the fireworks out on the back lawn? Or at Ocean at Cape Arundel Inn, followed by fireworks-watching on the front porch? You can try the Arundel Wharf on Ocean Avenue for dinner and fireworks, and Salt & Honey in Union Square, too. Call early: reservations book up fast.