Bayview celebration not hampered by new rule
“I’m surprised it worked out so well,” said Bayview Beach resident Thomas Beirne several days after July Fourth had come and gone in his neighborhood.
A bit of controversy just before the holiday — one of the biggest days in the little beachside community — had some neighbors worried the Fourth of July might not be as much fun as it had been in the past.
But Beirne said all went well, and by appearances, the community had as much fun as ever.
Bayview Beach has been a hub of activity on the Fourth of July for about 36 years. Neighbors organize a parade and march through the streets at 6 p.m., and later, thousands of people gather at the beachside homes of friends to watch fireworks light the sky over the beach.
This year was a little different.
Because of a lawsuit filed last year by a young woman hurt by fireworks at Bayview Beach, the beach association posted “no fireworks” signs and hired two police officers to make sure no one brought illegal fireworks onto the beach.
The association stopped short of closing the beach altogether in the evening, a step it had considered.
Talk about closing the beach led about 50 Bayview Beach residents to rally days before the holiday in protest. Organizer Jeff Agid said the rally wasn’t so much in opposition of the board’s decision but more about the way the board communicated important decisions to the residents.
And when the day came, the beach area was filled as usual with beach goers, picnickers, boaters, revelers, and parade marchers.
Two police officers were on hand, but neighbors said they just checked to make sure no one had illegal fireworks, and that was it.
“All went well,” Beirne said. “There weren’t any fireworks right in front of our houses on the beach, like there were in past years, but people were lighting them off on the beaches on either side, and their shows were bigger than before.
“So while we didn’t have fireworks in the middle, we had them on the right and the left,” he said.
Beirne, a former city alderman, said that’s what should happen when people get together and talk about issues: Things actually work out well.