I’ve been a fan of fireworks my entire life.
There’s just something about being able to look up in the sky, see the colors and patterns and almost involuntarily say “Oooh” and “Aaah.”
July 7 is just about the last day any towns were shooting off Independence Day fireworks near where my wife and I live, but scheduling brought us both to this date and to Ayer, a town about 20 minutes from where we live and where we had never been before.
Acton, where we live, normally has its fireworks before the holiday, but for some reason did them on July 4 itself this year. We didn’t go because we like to watch the Boston July 4 show on TV, and this year it was worth it just to hear Rhiannon Giddens, who we hadn’t heard of.
We have now. She’s really good.
We originally planned to go to Lexington the next night, but then we realized they were part of a carnival, which sounded like it could have been a mob scene, and we’re not crazy about those.
So Ayer it was, since it was closest of all the places that were left. It looked like they were also having a carnival, but it was pretty much our last option.
When we lived in Hyannis, they did a big fireworks at the harbor every year. The main hillside was always mobbed with people, but we discovered a better alternative maybe a half-mile down the street at Kennedy Beach.
There was plenty of room, and the views were just as good.
When we used to go in Hingham, we found a side street to park on about a 10-minute walk from the beach, and a nice, convenient spot away from the crowds to watch the fireworks. (In case you’re wondering, yes, we prefer to stay out of crowds.)
NARA Park in Acton is pretty spread out, but our trick there is to park in the shopping plaza by the entrance to the park; it’s a longer walk, but we don’t have to wait in traffic when we leave.
Once inside, we sit near the edge of the park, which lets us get back on the trail quickly and back to our car right after the fireworks end.
We’re not familiar with Ayer, but after driving around until we found a parking spot next to a business where we had seen other cars parked — “They can’t tow us all!” my wife declared — we decided to turn one street over from the park entrance.
We wound up by a ballfield, separated from what looked like the main carnival area. We hadn’t brought blankets or chairs, so stood at the top of a hill, between a guardrail and the fence. It looked like it could be a pretty good spot.
We got there about 15 minutes before the scheduled start of 9, although the fireworks didn’t start until about 9:15 — I assume because they were waiting for it to get dark.
Our location was even better than I thought. I had assumed the display would be coming from the far side of the carnival, but it actually was in the middle of the ground.
Once the show started, the talking and small children waving their glowing sticks and running around stopped, although I did hear a few little kids crying at the noise.
For the next 20 minutes or so, everyone looked up to the sky, saw the colors and patters and almost involuntarily said “Oooh” and “Aaah.”
2 thoughts on “Lighting up the night”
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