Friends of Portsmouth to celebrate 4th of July with a bang


By Kasie McCreary - [email protected]



The Light Up the Sky 4th of July celebration will take place on Saturday, July 2 at Spartan Municipal Stadium at 4:30 p.m.

The Light Up the Sky 4th of July celebration will take place on Saturday, July 2 at Spartan Municipal Stadium at 4:30 p.m.


PORTSMOUTH—Friends of Portsmouth plans to light up the sky for Independence Day this year with the organization’s 3rd annual 4th of July celebration.

The Light Up the Sky 4th of July celebration will take place on Saturday, July 2 at Spartan Municipal Stadium at 4:30 p.m.

Bryan Smith, Executive Director of Friends of Portsmouth, said that his first year taking over the event in 2020 was an experiment in how to adapt to difficult circumstances. Due to COVID restrictions, Smith and Friends of Portsmouth had to exercise some creative solutions.

“Our first year getting to do it was in 2020 during COVID. We still did it, but it was a drive-in fireworks display,” Smith said. “People were just thankful that we did fireworks. It was still a lot of fun, and it was packed, that’s for sure.”

Following the height of the COVID pandemic, Smith and Friends of Portsmouth got their chance to let the 4th of July event shine the way they’d hoped.

“Last year we finally got to do what we intended to do in 2020, with a full-fledged event inside the stadium. We had tons of inflatables for kids, all kinds of vendors, tons of food trucks—we had live entertainment all day long, all evening. It was nice to be able to do that, and it was a packed house,” Smith said.

The tradition is set to continue this year with many favorite features from last year’s celebration, as well as new musical acts, vendors, and activities for the whole family to enjoy.

“We will have a full range of inflatables, dunk tanks—the Candyland Children’s Museum will have a booth with activities for kids. There are a full lineup of vendors and food trucks, too,” Smith said.

Regional musical acts such as the Party Bus Band, Julia Neville, the Josh Stewart Band, and Frank Grasso will entertain attendees throughout the night leading up to the fireworks display at 10 p.m.

Admission for the celebration is $5 per person, but children aged 12 and younger will be admitted for free. Attendees should also note that continued construction near the stadium may lead to the need for extra parking preparation.

“Look at the Friends of Portsmouth Facebook page for [parking updates],” said Smith. “There is some construction down there which a lot of people don’t realize if they don’t go down by the stadium. There is some parking that will be available down around the stadium on both sides. And a lot of times people park on [surrounding streets] and just walk down,” he added.

Though Smith said that the event has a “full house” when it comes to vendors and entertainment, Friends of Portsmouth is still looking for volunteers to help with the event’s operations. Anyone interested in volunteering should email Smith at: [email protected] for a list of available assignments.

With a busy summer social calendar coming up for most local residents, Smith hopes that the community will be able to come together to celebrate Independence Day with a bang.

“It’s about community to be 100% honest with you. Anything that Friends of Portsmouth does is about the community. We want to make sure that there’s entertainment, there’s events happening for people to attend, and this one her has always been a big one,” he said.

And given the 4th of July celebrations of Portsmouth’s past, Smith can think of no better way to do so than to bring the celebration home to Spartan Stadium to stay.

“Back in the day [the fireworks] always used to be at the stadium. So that’s why we took it back down to the stadium because that’s how they used to do it years ago,” Smith said. “We wanted to get back to the roots of that celebration. I feel like we’ve done a great job so far—from having to deal with COVID, then last year, and now we’ve got this one lined up. So far, I think we are doing pretty well with it.”

For updates on the Light Up the Sky 4th of July event as well as a calendar of upcoming events, follow Friends of Portsmouth on Facebook or online at friendsofportsmouth.com/july-4th.

The event takes place on Saturday, July 2 at Spartan Municipal Stadium at 4:30 p.m.

The Light Up the Sky 4th of July celebration will take place on Saturday, July 2 at Spartan Municipal Stadium at 4:30 p.m.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/06/web1_FWorks.jpegThe Light Up the Sky 4th of July celebration will take place on Saturday, July 2 at Spartan Municipal Stadium at 4:30 p.m.

By Kasie McCreary

[email protected]

Reach Kasie McCreary at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Kasie McCreary at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved