The fireworks have certainly evolved through the years but I think for the better. When we were children they were always on the 4th of July when we could wait until dusk and drive right up to the beach, jump out of the truck, and go find ourselves a patch of sand with plenty of room around it.
Over the years this became a huge event, with tens of thousands of people gathering to watch at the many beaches and other areas around the village where they could be seen. It became so crowded that for a number of years we actually stopped going.
Then when I was elected to office in the village I learned I could get a coveted spot to park up at the beach and actually sit with my family upstairs at the pavilion where we literally had the best seats in the house. So we started attending again. But the traffic was horrendous and it would often take us fifteen minutes to make our way home all those 2 miles. Police presence and organization was great, but it was a hassle.
About ten years ago, the date had to be moved to Labor Day weekend because of the nesting habits of the piping plovers, which are small shore birds on the endangered species list. Because of their nests the crowds and noise from the event could not be held and was moved. And now, every Labor Day we head to Main Beach for our special show. The crowds have diminished considerably and when we look down from our perch on high we can actually see sand between the people. In fact, it has become much more the way it used to be when we were young, with mostly local people coming out to enjoy the show.
Of course the down side is that the donations have dropped off as the fire department collects money for next year's show every year right there at the head of the beach. But so far the tradition continues and we still go as a family and enjoy every minute of it. This year the twins were old enough to know what was going on and as my husband held one on his lap next to me and I watch her face taking in the spectacle with a combination of awe and wonder, I knew that this was what it was all about. A perfect ending to our birthday celebration.