Back to top

City of Boston kicks-off 37th annual Harborfest

June 26, 2018

Mayor's Office

Published by:

Mayor's Office

Opening Ceremony at Historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the City of Boston will kick-off the 37th annual Boston Harborfest at Faneuil Hall Marketplace on Thursday, June 28 at 11:00 a.m.

"The Boston Harbor has a rich history that goes all the way back to our country's founding and the fight for independence," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "Harborfest brings together residents and visitors alike to celebrate our city's unique history with exciting events and activities. I look forward to celebrating alongside everyone for another great year of festivities."

Boston Harborfest is a multi-day festival with activities celebrating American Independence, honoring the city's colonial roots, and showcasing Boston's vibrant harbor. Mayor Walsh will be joined by Captain Claudia Gelzer, Captain of the Port of Boston, United States Coast Guard; Commander Nathaniel Shick, 75th Commanding Officer, USS Constitution; Pat Moscaritolo, President and Chief Executive Officer, Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau; Joe O'Malley, General Manager of Faneuil Hall Marketplace; and Harborfest partners during the celebration to kick-off the festival.

Residents, visitors and businesses are invited to participate in the patriotic opening ceremony, which will feature United States Navy Band Northeast's Ceremonial Band and Rhode Island Sound who will create excitement with patriotic music, and the ceremonial cutting of the Harborfest cake. Mayor Walsh, Captain Gelzer, and Commander Shick and special guests will use a cutglass (sword) to cut the cake, provided by Faneuil Hall Marketplace and created by Montilio's Baking Company. National Park Service Park Rangers and Freedom Trail® Players, dressed in 18th-century costume, will be on hand to offer historical information about Faneuil Hall and other sites along the Freedom Trail.

Held from June 28 through July 7, Harborfest celebrates the colonial and maritime heritage of America's independence in Boston. Over the years, Harborfest has grown from a local event to a national celebration. In 1982 there were 35 activities over the course of three days. Now in its 37th year, Harborfest is considered to be the country's largest Fourth of July festival with hundreds of activities over a week-long period at Boston's best landmarks.

The family-friendly event includes the annual opening ceremony at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, historical reenactments, Freedom Trail® tours and historic sites' programs and events, activities along Boston Harbor, live entertainment, and much more.  An evening concert on Saturday, June 30 features the Squeezebox Stompers and Sweet Harmony leading up to a 9:00 p.m. fireworks show presented Friends of Christopher Columbus Park, Boston Harbor Now, and the Wharf District Council. Harborfest will also feature events at Christopher Columbus Park on Sunday, July 1, including Arts at Harborfest, curated by Artists Crossing, and Chowderfest, where attendees may vote on the best creations from local restaurants. On July 4, the annual City of Boston's Official Independence Day Commemoration, including a flag raising ceremony and parade will begin at 9:00 a.m. on City Hall Plaza.  The parade will travel from Boston City Hall to the Granary Burying Ground for a wreath laying honoring America's patriots, and to the Old State House for the official July 4threading of the Declaration of Independence.

For more Harborfest information and a list of activities, please call 617-439-7700 or visit