Waterbury is celebrating July 4th a day early this year with music and parties and fireworks on July 3rd.

   A free concert, a food truck festival and neighborhood block parties will all precede the scheduled 9:15 p.m. launch of the City’s annual fireworks display on Sunday July 3 from Holy Land.

   The Waterbury Symphony Orchestra will give a free outdoor concert beginning at 8 p.m. in Hamilton Park near the Seven Angels Theater. The concert is being sponsored by MacDermid Performance Solutions. Grab your lawn chairs, blankets and coolers and plan to arrive early at Hamilton Park for a good spot that will let you enjoy both the music and the fireworks.

   Also, the Brass Mill Center Shopping Mall on Union Street is joining the July 3 celebration beginning at 2 p.m. when they invite 20 food trucks serving a variety of different types of food to the mall parking lot. The food trucks will be there until 10 p.m. If you’re planning on viewing the fireworks from the Mall parking lot, you should consider getting there long before the scheduled 9:15 p.m. fireworks launch. With the food trucks, the lot will fill early.

   Mayor Neil O’Leary is encouraging residents to get together and hold neighborhood block parties. If you are planning a block party, please notify Mayoral Assistant Terry Corcoran at tcorcoran@waterburyct.org or 203-574-6712. Mayor O’Leary will be sending a team of judges to the parties to determine the winners in four categories: Most Patriotic Party, Largest Party, Best Entertainment and Best And/Or Most Unique Food. The winners will get a $250 prize. The rain date for all this is July 10.