, Gloucester, MA

August 13, 2013

Editorial: A memorable spark for Rockport

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — The conditions were ideal, and the timing proved perfect as well.

Yet even with those factors, it was hard to predict the overwhelming reactions generated by Rockport’s first Illumination Night Saturday.

As Gail McCarthy’s story noted in Monday’s Times, town streets and businesses were packed throughout the day. And even 2-3 hours before the 9:30 p.m. start of the town’s first-ever public fireworks show, Bearskin Neck, particularly, was so full of pedestrians streaming in and out of its shops, eateries and galleries, it became delightfully impassable for all but the most daring motorists.

The spectacular, 27-minute fireworks show was conceived and pulled together by Rockporters Susan and Tim Collins, who carried out what proved to be an immense $20,000 fund-raising effort — and have drawn well-deserved praise and thanks from residents and visitors alike. But as they hopefully look toward Illumination Night II, they should try to keep the same weekend timeline, since it seemed to play a role as well.

That’s not just because it follows the afternoon Lobsterfest, which served up some 700 dinners, 200 more than usual, but also because it coincides with the state’s usual sales tax “holiday” weekend, which gave added incentive to shoppers, especially those visiting the town’s many art galleries and other stores.

It was, in the end, a winning overall event for a perfect summer evening.

Congratulations go out to the Collinses, and everyone else who made this such a truly roaring success.