The whistling of fifes, the crack of baseball bats, the streak of fireworks in the night sky — the Island's streets will swell today with the sounds of the Fourth of July.

Celebrations both public and private are planned throughout the day, but as the sun sets on another beach day and barbecue appetites are sated, all eyes will turn to downtown Edgartown for the start of the 44th annual Independence Day parade. Thousands of Islanders and visitors are expected to line Main street for the festive display of marching bands, dancers and floats.

The parade steps off at 5 p.m. from the Edgartown School.

Leading the parade will be Vineyard veterans, followed by the police and fire departments, and the county sheriff in his top hat and tails. But in a patriotic display that honors tradition, this year there will be one noticeable change: Dukes County Superior Court clerk Joseph E. Sollitto Jr. will serve as grand marshal, a first since longtime organizer Col. Fred B. Morgan Jr. stepped down last year. Mr. Morgan will continue to march at the head of the pack.

The parade will travel from the Edgartown School to Pease’s Point Way, loop toward the Harbor View Hotel, and head down Water street to Main street. It will then head west on Main for the home stretch and a score from the parade's judges, who will be positioned in front of the Old Whaling Church.

Following the parade, the town will host a fireworks display on the harbor at approximately 9 p.m.

With much of the Island's population flooding into Edgartown for the nighttime display, police advise spectators to carpool and use public transportation to avoid being stuck in lines of traffic. Parade-goers are also advised to adjust their schedules to account for increased security this year, including more restrictive parking measures and security checks of unattended personal belongings along the parade route.

Beginning at 4:15 p.m., Main street, beginning at Veterans Memorial Park, will be closed to vehicular traffic, as will most of the streets on the north side of town. No parking will be allowed within one block of the parade route beginning at 3 p.m.

Parking is available at the town lot on Dark Woods Road, with trolley service running in and out of downtown area. Parking for people with handicaps is available at the intersection of Cooke street and West Tisbury Road.

Road closures will temporarily affect the Martha's Vineyard Regional Transit Authority. A list of updated pick up and drop off locations in the Edgartown area is available on the VTA's website.

The Edgartown Police Department warns of anticipated traffic delays between 3 and 11 p.m. in the downtown area.

The parade route in Edgartown is as follows: The parade begins at the intersection of West Tisbury and Pinehurst Roads. It takes a right onto Main street and then a left onto Pease’s Point Way (next to the monument). It follows Pease’s Point Way and then takes a right onto Morse street, a left onto Fuller street and a right onto Thayer street. At the end of Thayer it takes a right onto North Water street. Then it takes a right up Main street and pauses in front of the reviewing stand (in front of the Whaling Church). It continues up Main street and then takes a left onto the West Tisbury Road and finishes at the Edgartown School.