BOSTON (CBS) — After nearly three-and-a-half decades on the job, the man who helps make the Fourth of July celebration happen each year on the Charles River Esplanade is preparing for that event for the final time.

Angelo Tilas, the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Esplanade Supervisor, announced that he is retiring at the end of 2016–meaning someone else will have to do all the legwork, make all the phone calls, and put all the pieces in place for the country’s annual celebration of independence.

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“Every summer has been absolutely fantastic.” Tilas told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens in his office.

Though the audience and the nation’s focus is on the Boston Pops and the performers, Tilas sets the stage and establishes the foundation for the event. This week, Tilas is busy preparing for America’s big birthday bash.

“Making sure everything goes right, and everything gets in the right places,” Tilas said. “The final outcome is everyone having a great time and leaving here and not knowing about all the stuff that we go through to make it happen.”

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Tilas said his favorite Fourth of July celebration moment of his entire career was Nelson Mandela’s visit in 1990. He said it was a special occasion because of the juxtaposition of the independence being felt at the time in South Africa with the celebration of our own country’s freedom.

Tilas says he has no idea what he’ll be doing July 4, 2017.

“I haven’t had a Fourth of July off for 34 years,” Tilas said.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

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