By James Niedzinski
---- — ROCKPORT — The town’s first-ever public fireworks show Saturday night is lighting a fuse of enthusiasm, with some local businesses pulling out all the stops to light up the faces of residents and visitors alike.
Organizers Tim and Susan Collins have helped Rockport organize and raise funds for Saturday’s event, which has been dubbed “Illumination Night.”
While the fireworks will only last for about 20 minutes, the Collinses and others have raised about $18,000, more than the $15,000 needed for the show.
Susan Collins said Tuesday that she always remained hopeful throughout the fund-raising process, and is pleased with the results as Saturday’s 9:30 p.m. show time nears.
With donation of all sizes, a donation box set up near Granite Pier, a specialized fund at Rockport National Bank, fund-raising efforts by a number of local businesses and posters for sale created by local artist Ken Knowles, organizers now say they have no intention of making the show a one-time event.
Kate Cahill, owner of Katie’s Gift Shop on Mount Pleasant Street sold two of four of the posters she had in the store.
Cahill said she wanted to help out Tim and Susan with fund-raising and the central location of her shop was the perfect fit.
“I think they have done a great job, it was a very ambitious idea,” she said. “Plus, it’s a cool poster.”
Anything not spent this year between safety details, fireworks, and other factors will be put into future fireworks funds.
This is not truly the first iteration of fireworks in Rockport. A fireworks display was also featured in Steven Spielberg’s film “The Love Letter,” which was shot in town in the 1990s.
But those fireworks weren’t open to or visible for the public. The whole town can enjoy Illumination Night.
The Illumination Night, which will also include the hanging of oversized lanterns around town, will follows a well-known local staple, Lobsterfest — hosted by the Rotary Club of Rockport. IN that event, set to run from 3 to 7 p.m., the Rotary Club of Rockport will be serving lobster dinners with clam chowder, corn on the cob, a roll, some watermelon and a drink.
Everyone is welcome for that event to the American Legion Hall on Back Beach, there will also be live entertainment by the Cape Ann Jazz Band, the cash menu includes hamburgers, hotdogs, chips, beer and wine. Tickets are $25 and can be bought from any rotary club member, or by calling 978-283-1448; for more information visit rockportrotary.org.
The fireworks display, however, will bring out food extravaganzas of a different sort.
My Place By The Sea, the restaurant on the tip of Bearskin Neck that hosted a major fund-raiser for Illumination Night earlier in the year, will also be hosting a special event to commemorate the occasion.
Everyone is invited to celebrated the fireworks — and food — of My Place by the Sea. The restaurant will be hosting at event starting at 6:15 featuring music and dancing, with the all-inclusive ticket priced at $75. For more information call the restaurant at 978-546-9667.
“I think (the fireworks show) is great for the town,” said Kathy Milbury, the restaurant’s co-owner and chef.
Meanwhile, Cape Ann Whale Watch of Gloucester, will also be hosting a fireworks cruise for $25 a person from 7 to 11 p.m. Part of those funds will go toward funding fireworks for future shows.
As to the show itself, American Thunder, the same North Reading based business that conducts Gloucester’s fireworks shows over July 3 and Labor Day Weekend, will giving Rockporters the most bang for their buck.
The fireworks festivities will also include bands from recent graduates and current students in the Rockport School District.
Cahill said was looking forward to enjoying the fireworks herself.
“It’s just a fun thing to do, what’s not to like?” she said. “I get to walk five minutes and see fireworks.”
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.