From the families scattered across the Pridwin lawn for the annual fireworks barbeque, to the young people who stake out their spot in front of Sunset Beach in the morning, nothing fills the half-mile stretch of Crescent Beach like the Shelter Island fireworks.
Extended families and tourists made the trip across water for one of the Island’s busiest weekends of the year Saturday for the famously late Fourth of July show.
“I’ve been coming every year and never donated,” said Mrs. Karen Dailey, who was sitting with a large family at the Pridwin barbeque. She was speaking of the community effort to fund the fireworks show this year, which had been funded in the past by the Chamber of Commerce.
Once the show was in danger of cancellation, Ms. Dailey jumped at the chance to make it happen to save what had become a summer staple for her and her family.
For many, fireworks are a family affair and this year was no different. Kids adorned in red, white and blue outfits and glowing gear splashed in Crescent Beach waters while parents relaxed in their beach chairs, coolers close at their sides.
The annual Pridwin barbeque filled every seat and spot, with people moving from table to table, catching up with friends. One large clan was all over the property in a massive game of hide-and-seek. Caught in the middle of the game was Acacia Galle, who has been coming to the Pridwin barbeque since she was five years old.
“I love spending the fireworks sitting on the Pridwin lawn with my cousins every year,” she said.
Another family found prime seating on the Pridwin lawn in a semi-circle of Adirondack chairs. Islander Albert Dickson, in the center, was surrounded by multiple generations of family from the Island and elsewhere, who made the fireworks show an annual pilgrimage. Liz Perez, for example, who made the traffic-filled journey to the Island from the Jersey Shore solely to watch the skies explode on Saturday, called it “the best night of the entire summer.”
But it wasn’t just a family night Farther down the beach from the Pridwin groups of young friends were in the majority. Susan Reed and Johnette Howard set up camp in a rare quiet spot between the hotel and the fireworks barge.
“We’ve been coming to the fireworks for 10 years,” said Ms. Reed, who is currently living in Sag Harbor. “I read about it in the Reporter.”
The Island fireworks are the “best on the East End, ” she added.
“I just love the intimacy of it,” Ms. Howard put in.
While for someone who lives here, the night of the fireworks may feel like the least intimate thing about the Island, for someone who hails from Nyack, New York, a small town fireworks show might feel cozy even during its busiest weekend.