Preparations for the 2022 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on July 4 have been underway all weekend as the event returns from a two-year in-person hiatus.
The free event will be packed with performances, people and 5,000 fireworks.
"This year, they're supposed to be absolutely spectacular," said Boston resident Linda Jacobson.
The rehearsal was closed to the public this year, but the music coming from the Hatch Memorial Shell still managed to attract onlookers like Jim Collins.
"It was so special," he said. "We were coming across the footbridge and I heard this voice and I said, 'Oh my god, that's Heather Headley,' and I had to stop."
Collins has been attending the Boston Pops show for more than 40 years.
"This is an event not to be missed, even if you're not from New England," he said.
Dejah Russel and Jamol Williams are not from New England. It's their first time celebrating the Independence Day in Boston.
They were able to catch a glimpse of headliner and 10-time Grammy winner Chaka Khan on stage as she rehearsed "I'm Every Woman" with the Boston Pops Orchestra, led by long-time conductor Keith Lockhart.
"My grandmother was a big Chaka Khan fan, and she passed away due to COVID, so this is a beautiful event for us to be here," said Russell.
More on the Fourth of July
The couple plans to attend the event again Monday after the gates open at noon.
For Williams, it's more than just celebrating our nation's independence.
"Given where we are in America today, there's a lot of crazy things going on, and I think that seeing people out, happy, celebrating together, symbolizing unity, that's probably the benefit for me," he said.
The Pops kick off at 8 p.m. and will last until 10:30 p.m., followed by the fireworks show.
No weapons, alcohol, backpacks, or glass containers will be allowed. Event organizers strongly encourage traveling light and using public transit, as many of the roads around the Esplanade will be closed.