By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Sea Bright will put on its traditional Independence Day fireworks display this weekend, but a change in where the sparklers will be launched should make for less hair-pulling at the wheel for visitors coming into town.
Normally fired from the beach at the site of the long-gone Peninsula House hotel, the fireworks will instead take flight from the Anchorage Club beach, a state-owned property just north of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge. The move was forced by beach erosion at the Peninsula House beach caused by a series of hard-hitting storms earlier this year, Mayor Maria Fernandes said.
The erosion makes shooting the fireworks from the customary location more dangerous because it would put the launch area too close to spectators, Fernandes said.
One result of the change: for those lugging beach chairs and blankets, there’s going to be more parking open at Peninsula House, Fernandes said.
“That’s actually better, because we’ll have the entire Peninsula House parking lot for parking, and we won’t have to cordon half of it off,” she said. “We’re able to keep the municipal and Peninsula House parking lot open for viewers, which we’re thrilled about.”
She says the fireworks show is hands-down the biggest boon for businesses annually, and much like Red Bank’s KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink display, parking is at a premium.
Unlike Red Bank, though, Sea Bright hasn’t had to fret over the bill for its show. Fernandes said private beach club members write checks for the display. It’s such a non-issue in town that Fernandes doesn’t even know how much the fireworks cost.
“We never got involved in it,” she said. “They all pitch in, which is great.”
Sea Bright provides police support and trash pick-up services for the fireworks, Fernandes said.
But for devotees of the free Anchorage beach, itself the location of a long-gone beach club, the shift means no access to their favorite sunbathing spot all day Saturday and Sunday while the fireworks are set up. To compensate, the town will provide 75 free daily beach passes for each of those days, on a first-come, first-served basis, according to an announcement from the borough clerk’s office.
Although there is a July 5 rain date scheduled for the show, the weather forecast looks favorable for it to go off at dusk on July 4: sunny temps all day, dropping to the 70s by nightfall, which is expected to be clear.