BOSTON (CBS) — The Fourth of July in Boston will look a lot different this year as the city emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of the usual spectacular celebration on the Esplanade, fireworks will instead be launched from Boston Common Sunday night, and the Boston Pops will be performing on the other side of the state.

The fireworks on Boston Common are planned from 10:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. MBTA travel is free Sunday night after 9:30 p.m., and the last Commuter Rail trains leaving Boston will be delayed to accommodate fireworks watchers.

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The Pops will play their Independence Day classics like Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture before an audience of 9,000 in Tanglewood, starting at 8 p.m. Special guests include R&B singer Mavis Staples and “Late Show With Stephen Colbert” bandleader Jon Batiste.

There will be no fireworks at Tanglewood, and no concert sound at Boston Common. The concert will be streamed on Bloomberg’s digital platforms.

“The Boston Pops July 4th Spectacular is one of the most iconic ways that Massachusetts recognizes our nation’s independence, and while the celebration may look different this year, it will still be a truly special way for all residents to celebrate the Fourth of July,” Gov. Charlie Baker said.

The Fourth of July celebration has been a tradition on the Esplanade for decades, but last year’s event was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2019, half a million people lined the banks of the Charles River for the show.

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The usual Esplanade fireworks celebration and concert at the Hatch Shell will return in 2022, organizers said.

Looking for fireworks outside of Boston? Click here to find a display near you.

Anyone heading to outdoor celebrations should pay close attention to the weather forecast, with scattered showers expected throughout the weekend.


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