Rather than congregating around the barbeque grill with lit sparklers this Independence Day, why not don your prized red, white and blue and head down to the waterfront with a lawn chair at 6 p.m. for a community event guaranteed to end with a bang?

92.9 WPBM will broadcast from T.R.Gallo Park at the foot of Broadway and classic rockers Hotrod will be jamming. Kingston City Historian Ed Ford will deliver an address, serviceman Daniel McShea will lead the crowd in the Pledge of Alliance. Prepare to blot a tear during Terri Dwyer’s Star Spangled Banner performance. The fireworks display begins at 9:30 p.m.

Samir and Sarah Hrichi of the Strand’s Ship to Shore restaurant helped organize this year’s events and said that this year, the goal was to make the event “family-oriented.” This involved hosting the event on the actual day, July 4, rather than a weekend night prior, as has been the practice inKingstonin years past. “We decided that it is time to steer away from a ‘street carnival’ and return to the real reason of the Fourth of July,” said Sarah, “our country’s independence. Why not celebrate on the real date that holds so much meaning?”

Samir felt that celebrating the country’s independence in New York State’s original capital is both meaningful and poignant.

The couple also explained that the event will be local businesses only — no outside vendors.  West Strand will be closed and sponsoring area businesses, Dermot Mahoney’s Irish Pub, Mariner’s, Ship to Shore, Rosita’s, Savona’s Trattoria and Steel House will be offering outdoor seating as well as the many other restaurants. “There are so many dining options on the waterfront. We would love to see our local businesses supported during this event. There is so much to choose from here already: pizza, pasta, seafood, steaks, Japanese, gelati — what more do we need?

TheHudson River Maritime Museum will have extended hours and discounted admission, and invites people to bring a lawn chair or blanket for the fireworks show. The Trolley Museum will be open as well.

“I am excited to see this event come together,” said Samir. “Not just for Ship to Shore, but for the waterfront as a whole. We have all worked hard to pull this off. With help from our sponsors, which includes Mainetti, Mainetti & O’Connor for sponsoring the fireworks for the third year in a row, we are able to properly produce the vision that we share. We want to see the Rondout bustling with families made of both tourists and locals; see people enjoying the promenade, our shops, galleries, museums, and restaurants.  Most importantly, we want to see people celebrating the reason we are all here on this date — the Fourth of July — our country’s freedom.”

A creek-y perspective

John DeForest, owner of the M/V Teal, said he is offering a special July 4 cruise from 7-9:15 p.m., fully catered with a DJ for $50 per ticket. “It’s a really nice way to do the Fourth of July, and watch the fireworks away from the crowds,” said DeForest, who explained that after the yacht docks guests are invited to stay on board to enjoy the fireworks. “They are doing the fireworks off the bridge this year, and we will have such a great view from where we dock. I love how all the local businesses come together to put this event on for the city. It’s so great. I appreciate the emphasis on keeping it local to help the businesses.”

DeForest said he does his part to keep it local by sending his guests to different downtown restaurants after every cruise. He also uses local businesses to cater his cruises, and rotates them to share the love. This year, he plans to have Cousins Catering cater the Fourth of July charter. Also, the Rip Van Winkle is offering a special 21-and-over cruise between 8-10:30 p.m. featuring the band Mister Kick! Tickets are $30 per person; call 1-800-843-7472 for reservations.

If you need to get your Independence Day on by celebrating it Yankee Doodle-style, the Senate House State Historic site is hosting an Independence Day Celebration on June 30 that will include demonstrations of life circa 1776, including hearthside cooking, laundering clothes and Colonial-era healthcare by the Third Ulster Militia. There will also be a period “magic” show and an afternoon of music performed by Headless Horsemen Fife and Drum Corps and Mr. Bayly. At 11 a.m. there will be a patriotic service of readings and music. Guided tours of the state Senate’s original meeting place are $4 adults, $3 seniors and free for kids ages 5-12.