BOSTON (WHDH) - While thousands are expected to flood the Charles River Esplanade for this year’s Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, thousands of other people also flocked to separate Fourth of July celebrations in Boston and beyond Thursday. 

From parades to fireworks displays, some festivities got underway Thursday morning and continued throughout the day.

Boston Harborfest kicked off its final day of events this year, starting with a 9 a.m. parade through the streets of Boston. There was a reading of the Declaration of Independence at the Old State House at 10 a.m. and the USS Constitution was scheduled to deliver a 21-gun salute neat 11:30 a.m. close to Castle Island in South Boston.

People also gathered in Downtown Crossing for a reading of Frederick Douglass’ historic speech “What, to a Slave is the Fourth of July.”

The speech was read against a backdrop of African drums, dancers, and gospel music. The event where the speech was read also included a marketplace and a free ice cream social.

The USS Oscar Austin, a Navy destroyer, docked in Boston on Wednesday and remained parked at Black Falcon Pier Thursday. The ship is open for tours.

Elsewhere, major fireworks shows are planned in communities including New Bedford, Plymouth, Fall River and Salisbury. 

New Bedford’s fireworks begin at 9 p.m. over New Bedford Harbor.

Plymouth‘s fireworks start at 9:15 p.m. at Pilgrim Memorial State Park

Fall River‘s fireworks start at 9:30 p.m.

Salisbury’s fireworks start at 10:15 p.m. at Salisbury Beach.

Originally scheduled to host its own fireworks display, Marblehead will be without fireworks this year after a fireworks barge went up in flames overnight. 

Organizers announced the fire early Thursday morning and said an investigation into the cause was ongoing. 

The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular will begin with musical performances at 8 p.m. The fireworks show will begin at 10:30 p.m.

The Fireworks Spectacular will be broadcast on 7NEWS. The show is produced by and also airing on Bloomberg TV and Bloomberg Radio. It is sponsored by Herb Chambers.

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