They will be doing it again tonight. Thursday night fireworks are a summertime tradition in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Thousands gather to watch.
The first of our two weeks in Maine this year the show was disappointing. Only about two thirds the usual length, we wondered if the display had been curtailed due to COVID.
There was practically no-one there. The area where we usually sit, with hundreds of others, only had about 25 people. The following week the crowd was bigger (and the show back to its normal 15 minutes), though still not as many as in 2019.
Attending any public gathering in 2021 involves weighing risk. Even for those vaccinated against COVID-19.
At an outdoor event like a fireworks show, you can expect to be pretty safe. There is no need for the audience to crowd in together. In Old Orchard Beach those watching fireworks on the sand have always kept their distance, while those on the pier have been crowded closer together. I don’t remember ever watching the ashow from the pier – I’m not a fan of crowds.
Taking in the fireworks this year felt like striking a blow for normalcy. After almost 18 months of lockdowns and restrictions, it felt good to do something just like we used to.
I think my comfort level is at the point where I am quite happy to attend public gatherings – taking reasonable precautions such as wearing a mask. Many people aren’t at that point yet. For some it may take years.
There are no guarantees as to what our society wil look like this time next year. I’m hoping next August will find me once more on the beach at Old Orchard as the fireworks explode overhead. But first we have to get through the Delta variant (then the Epsilon variant or even the Omega variant).
I was told by a doctor earlier today that I shouldn’t have traveled to Maine, that there is a travel warning for people my age. A quick look online didn’t reveal that, though I see the Canadian government is still warning against non-essential travel anywhere.
I guess that doesn’t apply to politicians criss-crossing the country looking for votes.
And they wonder why people don’t take their warnings seriously…