The fog and rain on New Year's Eve could not stop fireworks displays in Portsmouth and Dover to usher in the new year and their respective anniversary celebrations.

The fireworks in Portsmouth were first to be launched at South Mill Park as the culmination of Pro Portsmouth's annual First Night celebration. Dover's display, sponsored by the Rotary Club, were launched from Garrison Hill with the intention of being visible from all over the city. The fog may have kept the visibility down.

Hampton Beach canceled its fireworks display because of concerns the thick fog off the ocean would make the fireworks difficult to see.

Portsmouth's Official Kickoff is Friday

Portsmouth400  will officially kick off its year of celebration Friday with a party that starts in the public forum area of Prescott Park, with the lighting of Memorial Bridge at 4 p.m. in "PNH400 blue."

A procession called “History Lights Our Way”, with walkers holding light sticks, will makes its way to South Church, where the Portsmouth committee will reveal what is planned for the year. Hot cocoa and cookies will be served after the presentation.

The event is free and all are welcome.

Portsmouth's large upcoming events include the Piscataqua Riverfest, Regatta and Boat Parade, and Portsmouth NH 400 Grand Parade on June 3.

Memorial Bridge lit in PNH400 blue
Memorial Bridge lit in PNH400 blue ( Jay Benjamin)

A Gala Starts the Celebration in Dover

Dover kicked off its celebration with the 400th Gala Event at City Hall on New Year's Eve. The celebration included the ringing of the City Hall bells for the first time in 50 years.

The celebration already includes specially painted crosswalks to mark the occasion and a special beer. Northham Ale, described by Chapel + Main owner Ben Lord as a "nice, simple, clean American Pale Ale", made its debut at Chapel + Main in December.

There are several events planned for the summer including the Dover on the Water boat parade, Merry Mac Regatta, gondola rides at Hilton Park on June 24, and a vintage baseball game against Portsmouth on June 24.

Three events are planned for the Fourth of July including a downtown block party on July 1, a parade on July 2, and a fireworks display on the Fourth, which will be shot off simultaneously in two different locations.

Dover 400 crosswalk
Dover 400 crosswalk (Townsquare Media)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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