🔴 An all-day block party kicks things off Saturday

🔴 Things finish up on the Fourth with an umbrella of fireworks

🔴 All events are rain-or-shine

Dover celebrates its 400th anniversary during the Independence Day weekend with a party, parade, and double fireworks display.

The fun, which has been five years in the planning, starts Saturday with the all-day Dover Block Party and Interactive Walk Through History.  90 units will march in the Dover Anniversary Parade that steps off at 3 p.m., followed by a concert on the Fourth by the New Hampshire Army National Guard 39th Army Band, then the fireworks.

During the Block Party, nine bands will perform at the Rotary Pavilion at Henry Law Park.

Dover 400 executive director Jeanette Poulin told Seacoast Current the fireworks will launch from Maglaras Park (near Henry Law Park) and Garrison Hill Park, creating a kind of "umbrelling Dover with fireworks."

Before the fireworks, a concert performance by the 39th Army Band will be held at the Rotary Arts Pavilion in Henry Law Park from 7 to 9 p.m.

"What's really cool is that we are offering something for all ages and it's 100% free. We're just looking forward to people coming out in celebrating the city. It doesn't turn 400 years every year.This is a huge milestone for us," Poulin said. "We are so looking forward to people who, even if you don't live in Dover, just come out and celebrate with us."

Dover's celebration – five years in the making – starts with an all day block party Saturday.

The parade will follow the same route of the annual Holiday Parade, starting at the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce, 550 Central Ave., and following Central Avenue (Route 108) south through downtown to Cleary Cleaners, 120 Central Ave., across from Pine Hill Cemetery.

All events are rain or shine, which is something to keep in mind given the forecast from the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, that promises more clouds and showers Saturday. A steadier and widespread rainfall develops Sunday into Monday.

Some road closures and parking restrictions will be in place for all the events.

Commemorative Dover 400 cake by Harvey's
Commemorative Dover 400 cake by Harvey's (Dover 400)

Saturday, July 1

  • Central Avenue closed southbound, from Second to Washington streets.
  • Henry Law Avenue closed from Washington to Williams streets.
  • Limited parking for the block party event will be available in the Orchard Street parking garage, the Dover Public Library/McConnell Center municipal lot, and the Dover Transportation Center lot.

Sunday, July 2

  • Central Avenue (Route 108) will be closed to all traffic from 2:45 to 5 p.m. between Chestnut Street/New York Street and the Stark Avenue/East Watson Street intersections.
  • Parking restrictions will be posted on Sixth Street on Sunday, July 2, to accommodate parade staging and in certain other locations where necessary along the parade route.
  • Dover Police are coordinating with CSX Railways to temporarily suspend freight trains at the downtown crossings to accommodate the parade. Amtrak Downeaster passenger train service will not be interrupted.

Tuesday, July 4

  • The fireworks displays can be viewed from Henry Law Park or other downtown locations, or from locations along Central Avenue from Oak Street northward to the Hannaford and Shaw’s plazas. Fireworks will begin at about 9:15 p.m.
  • At dusk, Henry Law Avenue and its surrounding streets that include River, George, and Williams streets will be closed to all motor vehicle traffic to ensure the safety of fireworks viewing.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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