Freeport lights up the night in celebration

Fireworks spectacular goes off without a hitch


Kristin Wagner handed her daughter, Ariella, a glow-in-the-dark sword, and the girl immediately stood on guard, ready for a playful duel. Soon the two were smacking each other’s faux swords as they hung out on the Nautical Mile on July 5 for the Village of Freeport’s annual Fourth of July fireworks celebration.

“I can’t wait to see the fireworks,” Ariella said.

Glow-in-the-dark toys were everywhere at Sea Breeze Park, including “Star Wars” lightsabers. As the sunset, families sprawled on blankets and lawn chairs throughout the park, waiting for the fireworks show to begin.

“I love it down here at the Nautical Mile,” Dawn Shawtell said. “I love how the Freeport Chamber of Commerce puts a lot of events together, too. This is always a good show.”

Shawtell sat on a bench, patiently waiting for the show, while her grandson Mason Bovere played with a number of other children. By 9 p.m., the park was filled with hundreds of people.

Freeporter Joscelyn Lora said she had taken her family to see the Jones Beach fireworks the day before, but didn’t have the best view. She was happy, she said, to bring her son Geovany to Freeport, where she had a better one.

“It’s a tradition for all of us,” Lora said of her family. “They just want to see the lights and see everyone out here playing while meeting new friends.”

The sidewalks were full on the Nautical Mile. Visitors were either waiting in the park or having dinner and drinks at one of the many restaurants. Still others milled about in front of Pip’s Ice Cream Parlour or were in line at Ralph’s Italian Ices.

Brian Grube, who grew up in Merrick, had come from Raleigh, N.C., with his family — wife, Kristy, and daughters Olivia and Grace — to visit family on Long Island. Coming to Freeport to watch the spectacular, Grube said, was a way to show his daughters other parts of the Island, while enjoying an evening of pyrotechnics.

Last summer, the fireworks were postponed once because it rained and then canceled because the truck delivering the fireworks broke down. This year, the weather held and the truck made it.

At 9:30 p.m., the first fireworks burst into the dark sky, to the cheers of the spectators. When the show ended, people clapped and walked off, back to their cars.