More than 20,000 people are expected to descend on Burlington’s Waterfront Park for the city’s annual July 3 Independence Day celebration

The party officially gets underway at 5 p.m. and will feature live music, food vendors and, of course, the state’s largest fireworks show over Lake Champlain. This year’s celebration includes a pre-firework’s drone show.

Park officials are urging visitors to take a bus, ride a bike or walk to the waterfront. If you do drive, expect getting out of downtown to take a while: Pedestrian and bus traffic will be prioritized after the fireworks.

Green Mountain Transit will offer free shuttle buses from the University of Vermont’s Patrick Gym to One Main Street. starting at 3:15 p.m. If you bike to the waterfront, Local Motion will provide fee valet bike parking at the corner of Lake Street and College Street. 

Here is what else you need to know before you go.

Parking and Transportation 

  • Free shuttlebus service from UVM’s Patrick Gym parking lot to 1 Main Street will be available from Green Mountain Transit (GMT).
  • Park in the UVM’s Gutterson Fieldhouse parking garage and adjacent lots and catch the bus in front of Patrick Gymnasium. 

If you park at the Waterfront, be prepared to wait at least one hour from the end of the fireworks to leave the parking areas. 

  • All parking lots off Lake Street will exit up Depot Street on to North Avenue at the end of the night. 
  • Perkins Pier Parking is $12 for cars and $12 for trailers. 
  • Waterfront Pease Parking Lot (bottom of College St) is reserved for handicap users and seasonal boaters, on a first come first serve basis, until lot is full. 
  • City parking garages will charge $5 per car (expect to wait 45 minutes to an hour to exit after event). 

Traffic delays and detours: Following the fireworks, Main Street will be closed to through traffic except buses and authorized vehicles. 

  • All traffic will flow from Burlington Waterfront East up Main Street. There will be dedicated bus lane leaving the city, heading EAST on Main Street. 
  • All north/south traffic will be held at Main St. until 11:30 p.m. Traffic flow on College Street, Cherry Street and Pearl Street will be directed to Colchester Avenue or Route 127. Motorists are encouraged to use these designated streets, and avoid neighborhoods or cross-town routes. 

Boat traffic: Boat Traffic in the harbor must end by 8:00 the US Coast Guard will enact a full harbor closure, however we recommend getting to your destination prior to that, at least by 7pm. 

  • Boat traffic from King Street Dock or Perkins Pier should exit to the south only. A No-Boat-Traffic-Zone has been extended to include the entire inner harbor. This safety zone is strictly enforced. The Perkins Pier and Waterfront boat ramps will be closed during this time. 
  • All watercraft, including canoes and kayaks, must have working lights if they are on the water after dusk. 
  • Boaters can expect crowded conditions in Burlington Bay throughout the day of the event, please proceed with caution while traversing. 

Safety Info 

  • Please do not bring pets. Leave your pets safely at home – each year animal control officials across the country report a 30% increase in lost pets between July 3th and 6th due to fireworks. 
  • Do not bring sparklers or fireworks of any kind. 
  • No glass is allowed in the parks. 
  • If you see something, say something. Alert police or BPRW staff if you see dangerous activity or unattended bags. 

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