Cape Gazette

Beach Beat

Fourth of July Fireworks wars

By Billie Criswell | Jun 26, 2014

Fourth of July at the beach is a busy time. There’s a flood of people who come into town to enjoy the celebratory flair as well as to enjoy the seashore. Summertime at the beach! What could be more American? I love the parades and the crowds, but I tend to avoid the gridlock for which our holiday weekends have become so well known.

Instead, I like to take the day (or weekend, if I’m being honest here) and enjoy the pool and fire pit at home. And then, on the Fourth of July, I like to sit back and watch the competition we engage in each year: The Fireworks Wars. It all began several years ago when my husband got some fireworks while traveling down south.

Of course, the Fourth of July is the perfect time to set off said fireworks, so that year he did. And we got an “answer” of sorts from the neighborhood next door as they began setting off their own fireworks.

Then, as if in reply to both of us, some other neighbors down the way got their fireworks fired off.

Though we’ve never spoken of it with our neighbors (some of whom we don’t even know) each year since that inaugural firework war year, we go through the same ritual; setting off our fireworks in an unspoken competition of American spirit. I assume that each of us thinks that we’ve won and that our fireworks are superior to the others’.

Naturally, I have to add that I feel we actually do win each year because we have some seriously legitimate fireworks that my dad brought back from his trip to Florida last year as a birthday gift for my husband. He was all too happy to accept the oversized box of fireworks. (I do not let him keep it in the house because I am not-so-secretly terrified of the fireworks blowing us sky high.)

The point to all this fantastic firework fanfare that goes on in our quaint country neighborhood? Tradition. For us, it just wouldn’t be the fourth without the healthy, albeit strange competition we have with our neighbors.

For others, it wouldn’t the fourth without their annual trip to the beach or their ritual meal. Whatever it is for you, I hope you enjoy the holiday in good health and with great people. But also take the time to remember what the Fourth of July is all about: Our independence as a nation, and the right to be and do whatever you choose in a free country.

Happy Fourth of July everyone! Celebrate safely, and enjoy the fireworks!

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