BOSTON (CBS) — After producing more than four decades worth of Fourth of July celebrations in Boston, Executive Producer David Mugar will be retiring following the 2016 event.

Mugar has produced the annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular for the past 42 years. He and Boston Pops Conductor Arthur Fielder made changes to the program during the early 1970s, which helped bolster the program.

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Watch: 2015 Fireworks Finale At Boston’s Fourth Of July Celebration

By introducing Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” along with fireworks, church bells and cannons, the lagging attendance significantly improved. The celebration draws about a half-million people to the Esplanade on the Charles River.

(WBZ-TV)

(WBZ-TV)

Related: Boston’s 4th Of July Celebration Draws Massive Crowds On Esplanade

“It has been an honor to produce this celebration for the city of Boston and the nation…,” Mugar says in a statement released Wednesday. “The people who work on this event have become like family, and I have been privileged to work with them each year. It has been a great gift to be the custodian of this celebration for so many years.

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“The Fourth of July has been woven into the fabric of our city for generations.”

David Mugar (WBZ-TV)

David Mugar (WBZ-TV)

The 76-year-old says he has been contemplating retiring for a while, and he feels it’s the right time to call it a career.

“I’m doing it while I can walk away from it,” Mugar told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Joe Mathieu. “I don’t want God to have to make that decision. I want to do it on my terms, and be able to hand it off to someone in the future who hopefully they spend 43 years at it.”

Boston 4 Productions and Mugar are in the process of finding sponsors for the event next year, and there is currently a “significant shortfall” in funding for the celebration, according to the statement.

WBZ is a sponsor of the celebration.

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WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Joe Mathieu reports