Potomac River Festival: YES June 12 @ 9:30 p.m.
4th of July: NO
Public Colonial Beach Fireworks displays take place twice per year, the first one being during the Saturday night festivities at the long-running (70 years!) Potomac River Festival which takes place the second weekend in June, and the second show of the year happens just a few weeks later on the 4th of July. The show is on the Fourth of July, regardless of what day of the week it falls on.
Note, these are public displays put on by the Town. There are sometimes also shows done by private local businesses in addition.
Both displays take place just after dark. Sometimes there is a delay due to inclement weather, so be prepared to wait it out in that case. It is well worth the wait, though, I assure you! Cloudy skies and fireworks don't mix, so waiting for them to clear up is the plan.
They are launched from the end of the Municipal Pier which is roped off and closed to visitors, boaters and fishermen beginning at noon on the day of the display so that the pyrotechnics firm can begin setting up.
The show often lasts 15 - 20 minutes, capping off with a spectacular rapid-fire grand finale. Radio station WWER 88.1FM sometimes broadcasts patriotic music to accompany the display.
Prime viewing areas for the show include the main beachfront and Boardwalk area, the outdoor deck at the Riverboat and High Tides restaurants, the Black Pearl Tiki Bar and along the RiverWalk and north Irving Ave.
The best place by far is to watch them from a boat out on the Potomac River. You'll see boats start to anchor out just offshore in time for the big event.
If you know anyone who lives in the Potomac Renaissance Condo buildings on the waterfront, perhaps you can get an invite to watch from their balconies.
Pack your patience when leaving the area after the show is over as there are often major traffic jams. The police try to alleviate this by opening up two lanes out of town on Colonial Ave. and having one incoming lane. This helps to get people away from the beach area more quickly. Staying with friends for the night or renting a cottage or motel room might be a good option. Book well in advance, though. Rooms are hard to come by last-minute.
Hope to see you in town for one or both shows! Since there were no Colonial Beach Fireworks in 2020 thanks to you-know-what, let's hope 2021 is a different story!