A Reporter article promoting the fireworks show last Saturday noted that the annual event is a rite of passage for children and a beloved tradition for adults.
For more than six decades the pyrotechnic display has been a mid-summer ritual that brings everyone on Crescent Beach — and other vantages around the Island — together for a celebration of family, home and the nation’s independence.
The great July event has become something more than just a celebration for Shelter Island. It has been transformed into a shining example of citizens not accepting the status quo, but working with each other to change it.
In March 2015, the Chamber of Commerce announced it could no longer afford to sponsor the fireworks, and Islanders feared that after 57 consecutive years, the annual gathering would be no more.
But a group of Island residents — Carla Cadzin, James Richardson, and husband and wife Brett and Kelly Surerus — stepped up, put their heads together and figured out how to make it happen. They had all remembered the communal joy of Shelter Island fireworks when they were children, and wanted to present an experience for their children and all Islanders and visitors of looking skyward on a summer night to be awed and delighted.
The group created a nonprofit corporation, started a GoFundMe page, promoted the effort tirelessly and donations rolled in.
This group of young people didn’t just accept congratulations, but have worked every year since to keep the fireworks as part of the Island’s life.
Saturday’s show was one of the best ever, blessed by perfect weather and the expertise and creativity of the Fireworks by Grucci team.
Congratulations are due to the Shelter Island Police Department for managing a large event with safety as its first ideal, and accomplished the mission with courtesy and professionalism. The Fire Department and EMS crews were also involved with the event, adding a sense of security to the evening. And a special thank you goes to the ever-reliable Highway Department crews for their assistance.
Again, the beautiful show the evening of July 7 was community action and cooperation at its best. It spoke clearly about the virtues of taking care of a special place, of pitching in to help keep alive the traditions that make us what we are.