It is a Thursday night ritual throughout the summer. Tonight, as I have done the past two Thursdays, I will continue a vacation tradition and join the small crowd gathered near The Pier in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, for the weekly fireworks display.
Most people, at least from my non-scientific observations, enjoy fireworks. There’s something about the combination of sound and light that appeals to us, or at least to our inner child. We like things that go “bang” as long as we are prepared for them and they are not too scary.
I have seen some great fireworks displays in my lifetime, especially at Expo ’67 in Montreal back when I was much younger. I remember also visiting Toronto where music to accompany the fireworks displays along the waterfront was broadcast on radio, so you could enjoy the experience even if you were miles away. But fireworks don’t have to be quite that spectacular to entertain.
Old Orchard Beach has had the Thursday fireworks by The Pier for years. It used to be the displays were on Friday; I presume someone realized that Thursdays were a better fit. Most tourists leave Saturday morning; a lot probably didn’t want to be out late Friday night, especially those with young children.
The show doesn’t compare to the stunning symphonies in light I have seen elsewhere. The budget is limited (underwritten by the theme park at the end of the Pier), and the show is just ten minutes of bangs and colour, but there is a certain charm to it. You can get a lot closer than to a major fireworks event, close enough to see the individual fireworks being lit. The audience, lined along the pier or sitting on the sand on the beach is very appreciative. Certainly the price is right: it’s free.
It’s an event – we head into town a little early, perhaps to pick up some candy at Dickenson’s, or to get an ice cream cone. It’s usually a group outing, with other families we have met on the beach over the years. It’s a great way to end a long day sitting in the sun.