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Shelter Island skies set to light up Saturday night

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Fireworks will once again illuminate the summer skies over Shelter Island.
REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Fireworks will once again illuminate the summer skies over Shelter Island.

Weather permitting — and the current forecast is promising — there will be fireworks Saturday night off Crescent Beach.

This year’s event, in the hands of a new group of organizers, will include a number of special activities to enhance the mid-summer Island tradition, now in its 58th year.

“You want to up it every year,” said Kelly Surerus, a member of the board of the recently formed Shelter Island Fireworks, Inc.(SIF).

In March, she and her husband Brett, Carla Cadzin and James Richardson took over organizing the event after the Chamber of Commerce announced it couldn’t fund a fireworks show this summer. Since then SIF has raised the estimated $40,000 it takes to pay for the show.

“You don’t realize how much you love something until you almost lose it,” Ms. Surerus said.

Island residents and business owners have rallied behind the effort, she said, that has not only raised money to cover this year’s event, but a little more to fund fireworks for 2016.

The organization has signed a three-year contract with Fireworks By Grucci, which offered a discount for a multi-year agreement, Ms. Surerus said.

Plans call for a pre-fireworks party and fundraiser Friday night at the Shipwreck Bar at SALT. The Realm, a popular band among many Islanders, will perform Friday night. SIF organizers are hoping contributions and profits from a 50-50 raffle will be a good start for 2016.

The Shelter Island Heights Pharmacy has donated T-shirts to be sold on Crescent Beach Saturday night and “glow necklaces” will also be available. Donation buckets will be distributed around town this week for people to contribute money, and volunteers will be at Crescent Beach Saturday night accepting contributions.

Besides the generosity of Keith Bavaro and Ali Bevilacqua of SALT, the SIF team are grateful to Shelter Island Environmental, which closed the gap in funding, coming onboard as a sponsor.

Grucci also has been “a great company” to work with in negotiating the agreement and making plans for what will be an approximately 20-minute fireworks display, Ms. Surerus said. She also credited the pharmacy, IGA and Picozzi’s for contributing to the effort light up the skies Saturday night.

Ms. Surerus noted that there’s a limited number of parking spaces at Crescent Beach for the show. One of the few spaces was given to a generous contributor. As it happened, that winner already had plans to watch the show from a boat, so among the prizes offered at Friday night’s party will be that parking space.

Additional restrooms have been arranged for Crescent Beach in the same area where the permanent facilities are — adjacent to an area designated for families who might like to avoid some of the more raucous celebrations Saturday night, Ms. Surerus said.

Escola de Samba Boom, a parade band typically seen at Brazilian carnival celebrations, will be stepping lively up and down the beach. “It’s a cool thing that we brought back and they donated their services,” Ms. Surerus said.

The message organizers are promoting is respect for the beach by people picking up their own trash and depositing it in containers. The staff and volunteers plan to stay on the beach after the fireworks to help with cleanup, but they hope not to find a lot of debris, Ms. Surerus said.

The show is slated to begin at 9 p.m. Sunday is the rain date.

SIF is seeking volunteers to sell T-shirts and necklaces and to collect contributions on Saturday night.
For those interested, call the fireworks hotline at 749-5050.