Nick and Beverly Buonanno of Shelton had found the perfect spot to watch the fireworks on Saturday evening.
They were seated halfway between the concert stage and the taped-off area where the Shelton fireworks would be sent into the sky once it was dark.
“We love seeing both sides,” said Nick, referring to the Derby fireworks that are scheduled at the same time, just across the Housatonic River.
The couple has been coming to the fireworks for about two decades. “We wouldn’t miss it,” Nick said.
Like almost everyone in the crowd of many thousands at Veterans Memorial Park (the Riverwalk) and nearby viewing locations, the Buonannos were enjoying the picture perfect weather.
The fireworks had been rescheduled from Thursday night due to expected inclement weather, and it certainly appears organizers made the right call. On Thursday, as dusk neared, a major thunderstorm moved through the area.
On Saturday, July 5, there was no rain, no clouds and no humidity — only lots of ooh’s and ahh’s once the pyrotechnics show began.
Games and socializing
People brought along lawn chairs and blankets; coolers and even grills; wagons, bicycles and skateboards; and hula hoops, footballs, Wiffle balls, Frisbees and soccer balls.
And bug spray, too, just in case.
Children played games on the lawn as the adults socialized and kept a watchful eye on them.
Food and music, too
People ate everything from homemade picnic meals to pizzas from nearby establishments as they listened to the Glamour Girls play retro music and waited for the sky to darken and the moment to come.
Performers from the Youth CONNection at Center Stage Theatre sang selections from their upcoming production of “Les Miserables” (July 25-Aug. 2).
Food and ice cream trucks on Canal Street did a booming business, with people waiting to get that meal or treat.
As it got darker, out came the lighted rods, noodles, headbands, necklaces and bows as well as a few sparklers.
An excited crowd participated in an emcee-led countdown from 10, and then the real excitement began.
Emily Boyle arrived early with her 1-year-old daughter, Catherine. “I come for the atmosphere and to celebrate our country,” Boyle said.
An excited Sara Wicker, 3, being held by father Tom of Shelton, said she was looking forward to seeing “the fireworks in the sky!”
Julianne Marinelli of Shelton and her boyfriend, Michael Lowery, who grew up in Shelton, watched from chairs set up on Howe Avenue.
“I come every year — same spot,” said Marinelli, noting she has been watching the Shelton fireworks for many decades — perhaps even a half century.
Brian Salvietti had a great vantage point from his front lawn on Howe Avenue, at Hill Street.
“We feel like we’re in a pretty good spot,” Salvietti said in a classic understatement. “It’s great having Shelton and Derby do them at the same time.”
Armando Gabriel of Shelton, who was with his family, also reveled in being able to see the dueling fireworks of two towns from one location. “I’m looking forward to the rivalry between Shelton and Derby,” Gabriel said.
Amy Fenton of Monroe and her family have made the annual July Fourth fireworks and concert in Shelton a tradition.
“We come for the music, to get together with friends, and see the two-town dueling fireworks,” Fenton said.