Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Seaside Fourth


I "ooohed" at Kat's, "aaahhhed" at Robin's, and I knew I had to post my own:

Seaside, OR, is the ultimate pyrotechnic experience on the Fourth of July.

Walking down the beach with the dog on the evening of July 3rd, we kept passing men, grown men, with shovels, real shovels, waist-deep in pits they were digging in the sand.  We couldn't for the life of us figure out what was up with that...theorized that there must be some kind of professional sand-castle building contest happening on the Fourth.  Then we noticed that the pit-diggers were supplied with barbecue grills, cots, sleeping bags, ice chests...all the trappings of an overnight camp.  I thought...okay, you dig yourself a hole and sleep on the beach the night before the Big Day because.....??  Interesting tradition...

After our event on Monday, we went down for a walk on "The Prom," to experience the mob scene that is Seaside on a holiday.  The beach was pock-marked with these giant pits peopled with entire families; which were already--at 6 pm in full, broad daylight--spouting barrage after barrage of whistling, booming, crackling, smoking rockets.  Turning east through town, we strolled to Safeway to secure our dinner (a rotisserie chicken and corn on the cob) then walked back to the trailer to eat.  All the while accompanied by the constant din of fireworks--on the beach, over the river, in the streets...EVERYWHERE.

It was starting to get dark when we finished dinner, and I decided to take my camera and walk the few blocks down to the beach to see if I could get some decent shots.  I could not believe my eyes when I crested the little hill and beheld the scene on the waterfront.  Every bunker was spouting fireworks. Up and down the beach, as far as you could see (which was not all that far, because the pungent pall of gunpowder smoke clung to the sky like the stubbornest marine fog) dozens of private pyrotechnics shows were booming, sizzling, and screaming.  And these were not the paltry legal  fireworks that they sell at the roadside stands.  I have no idea where these folks were getting these rockets, and it boggles the mind to imagine how much they must have spent on them.  But there were parties of private citizens out there putting on better shows than the "official" 4th of July programs of most small towns across the country. 

I took my camera (and the already over 100 shots I had taken) back to the trailer to retrieve the husband.  "You have got to see this.  I've never seen anything like this in my entire life."  So we grabbed our little camp stools, staked out a place on the sand, and just sat, dumbfounded, for the next hour-plus, fearing to look too long in one direction lest we missed something spectacular going on the other way.  The noise and the smoke were unbelievable.  Some guy not thirty yards from us was setting off rockets that exploded literally right over our heads.  BIG ones.  I was scared spitless and completely captivated at the same time.

There WAS an official "Seaside 4th of July" display, set to simulcast music (which was not very good); the revellers politely interrupted their private shows to allow the community display center stage, then started up again without missing a beat as soon as the city had popped its last official  rocket.  They were going strong again as we made our way back to the trailer, and they partied on explosively for at least an hour after we went to bed.

The thought crossed my mind to go down to the beach this morning and take pictures of the aftermath.  I had visions of a scene that resembled the wake of some gigantic military invasion (minus the bodies.)  But we had an important date with post-holiday traffic for which we simply could not be late...


  1. That sounds amazing.  I have to admit, though, that I'm glsd things are quite a bit tamer around here.  We went with a few friends to our local fireworks and we all thought we'd go crazy (and probably be incinerated by) with the group of obnoxiuous kids running around in front of us with sparklers and their equally obnoxious adult supervisors with a bullhorn.

  2. gorgeous - sounds like a wonderful time! ~ Lori

  3. Beautiful. It certainly puts my neighbor kid's bottle rocket display to shame. : )

  4. I love the fireworks. I am glad that I finally live in a state where it is legal and we don't have to sneak anymore lol!! Your pics are beautiful.


  5. lightyears2venusJuly 6, 2005 at 7:57 AM

    That does sound out of this world...and certainly out of mine since I live in a state where fireworks are illegal.  My city almost sits on the Mexican border & people do smuggle in spectacular beauties which pop up here & there, but no one dares do anything prolonged.  There are several officially sponsored legal displays around town, especially at the resorts, but we always go to a friend's house with a view of the 'A' Mountain show.  It was 107 when we arrived, but we're all longtime desert rats and as they always say, it's a dry heat.  After the barbeque, we head up to the roof (it's a flat-roofed 1920s bungalow) to catch the breeze and watch the pyrotechnics--in more ways than one, since no matter how much they clear, the dry brush around the site often catches fire, too.  So after the breath-taking ooh and aaahh finale, the question to the person with the binoculars is always, "Can you see any fires?"  One year it was so bad we didn't even need binos.  We've been doing this most years since our kids were small, and even though they haven't been there for several Fourths now, it's a soul-satisfying tradition.  Well, here it is the 6th and I guess I'd better go out and haul down the flag--it's one of those that's flown over the Capitol.  I ordered 5X8 (I wasn't thinking) so it takes the BIG ladder to hoist it up to the nails that stay up year-around and initiative to take it down.  Thx for the great shot & links to others.  

  6. There are few things as inspiring as huge fireworks display on the 4th of July!  There is nothing more depressing than being shown (via TV or PC) the amount of world hunger that still exists!
     Yes...your average "joe" is out there..."July 4th?"..."I really need to get 400 bucks worth cannon rockets..streamers..etc.....WORLD HUNGER??...Whats that?

    Yes, Bob Dylan had it so right "the answer my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind".......we just love inhaling the smoke!

    Peace and better days...Marc :)

  7. The older the boys the bigger the toys! I love your about me section..the part about your hubby being the only one to have you........with me it was more like the only one who could handle me! lol lol lol I'm of to read more of you....enjoying what I have read so far.


  8. Great pictures, glad you had a good time. How was business?


  9. Hi! Moseyed on over from Chris` place. I`m glad I did!

  10. Hard to tell where patriotic display blends into "my rocket is bigger than yours." It looks spectacular...I hope no one got hurt.

  11. Awesome! I love the pic at the bottom right with the silhouette of people surrounding the ridge. :-) ---Robbie

  12. Hello Lisa-
    I am so sorry for no comments to your journal for so long. I have no excuse except for my health, including mental. I'm getting better.
    These pictures were so great and it looks and sounds like a good time was had by all. I remember living in Oregon and going to the coast to watch the fireworks. They were so fantastic! I even still have my pictures, around here somehwere....LOL

    Las Vegas was no comparison to this great show in Oregon!

    Great entry as always,

  13. Spectacular Pics!  Great job!