Melissa & Doug Set Off Fireworks

In 1814 at Fort McHenry, the rocket’s red glare and bombs bursting in air were sponsored by the British Royal Navy.

On Tuesday, at Westport’s 4th 3rd of July celebration, the fireworks will be sponsored by Melissa & Doug.

Melissa and Doug Bernstein

The internationally known toy company — founded and owned by Westporters Melissa and Doug Bernstein — answered the call to fund this year’s event at Compo Beach.

“We try to help out locally — Westport Arts Center, the Levitt, Music Theatre of Connecticut, the schools, Downtown Merchants Association and a lot more,” says Doug, a 1981 Staples graduate.

“When the PAL asked for help, the answer was obvious. The fireworks epitomize community. So many children enjoy it, just like we enjoyed it growing up. I think I’ve gone 40 years in a row. And every year, every kid in town is there.”

Doug remembers piling into his parents’ station wagon. When he became a parent himself, and a youth coach, his entire team would get together, sharing blankets and picnic food.

As sponsor, Doug is realizing how much planning is involved. He’s working with PAL and Westport Parks & Rec. “Everything takes work,” he says. “From music, to getting everyone in and out. That stuff doesn’t just happen by luck.”

So do Doug and Melissa get a seat on the barge?

“That was my first question!” he laughs.

The answer is “no.” However, they do get a nice thank-you letter.

And the gratitude of an entire town.

Still, he jokes, “a police escort in and out of there would be nice.”

(Tickets are $30 per car, and benefit PAL. Tickets are available at Westport Police headquarters on 50 Jesup Road, and at the Parks & Rec office in Longshore.)

Westport’s fireworks? Or some random town’s I found on Google? You be the judge.

42 responses to “Melissa & Doug Set Off Fireworks

  1. Very nice of them to be so supportive of the town and its public events.

    Now if we could only get them to utilize the parking in their vast park-like setting of a home. You see we the neighbors have to tolerate the parking of trucks every day on the street in front of the home. Apparently it takes a “village” to take care of the Bernstein’s and Melissa and Doug don’t like them parking behind the gates. I guess its a zen thing.

    Nice that they are supporting the fireworks…..Ashford and Simpson used to do a show every year at the same time at their home. Some neighbors would complain, the police would come and we all would enjoy the show.

  2. Anothercitizen

    Anothercitizen-how about a simple “Thank You” and leave it at that!

    • readermaniac


    • Guess you missed the point, but Eric got it. Since there can be two sides to people, its probably more a Yin Yang than Dzyen thing.

      ‘nuf said.

  3. Eric Buchroeder

    “Love-Hate” is not a simple thing or a zen thing!

  4. Thank you Melissa and Doug, I love the fireworks show!

  5. readermaniac

    I no longer live in Westport, but grew up there (Saugatuck, Bedford, Staples), and have wonderful memories of the fireworks at Compo (was it free then?) More recently, have sold Melissa & Doug products for about 10 years in the bookstores I’ve worked in.Despite being manufactured in China, love their well run and friendly company (great customer service!)

  6. Babette d'Yveine

    In Fairfield, the fireworks are free!

    • I doubt it. If the fireworks company is paid by the town (Parks & Rec or some other department), all Fairfield citizens foot the bill.

      • Babette d'Yveine

        If so, it would come to less than $1 per person. And non-residents are admitted, too.

    • Westport Convert

      Nothing is ever actually “free” unless fully-funded through private support.


  7. westport mom

    thank you for giving back.

  8. Cathy Cupcake

    Antoher thank you to Meliisa and Doug for their wooden toy line for very young children. They have recreated many of the toys, especially puzzles, we baby boomers had,, all in very good quality wood. More happy memories for us. Learning Express has a great selection.

    • It’s a shame they couldn’t be Made In The U.S.A.

      • Westport Convert

        As the nation with the highest business/corporate tax, I do not blame them. Maybe if the President was willing to reduce it, Melissa & Doug – along with other companies – would move their factory to “The U.S.A.”


        • “The interesting thing about the corporate rate is that corporate profits, as a percentage of GDP last year were the highest or just about the highest in the last 50 years. They were ten and a fraction percent of GDP. That’s higher than we’ve seen in 50 years. The corporate taxes as a percentage of GDP were 1.2 percent, $180 billion. That’s just about the lowest we’ve seen. So our corporate tax rate last year, effectively, in terms of taxes paid for the United States, was around 12 percent, which is well below those existing in most of the industrialized countries around the world. So it is a myth that American corporations are paying 35 percent or anything like it…Corporate taxes are not strangling American competitiveness.”

          Warren Buffett

          • USA - Highest corporate taxes in the world (hey, we're #1!)

            Warren Buffet is a blow hard who OWES BILLIONS in back taxes.
            In addition, a small or large buisness could give two shits abou their taxes compared to GDP!

            • Buffet’s entire fortune was built on a tax loophole available to insurance companies, and as Buffet knows, a large percentage of US corporate profits were made overseas. Capital will flow to the highest return.

              • Anothercitizen

                Again, Just a simple thank you to the Bernstein’s will do!

                • Too late for that; see the “Made in America” comment above.

                  • The thank you is for the fireworks. The END!

                    • USA - Highest corporate taxes in the world (hey, we're #1!)

                      Remember WHY WE CELEBRATE the Fourth of July?!
                      Taxation without representation, the Boston Tea Party…hello McFly!

                      I think it’s all relevant to the topic, what say you?

                      And thank you very much Doug and Melissa!!

  9. Eric Buchroeder

    When we were kids it was the main fundraiser for the PAL. Anyone could walk in and carloads were asked to donate which most people gladly did. all of our cars had dents on the hood because that was where you sat with your back on the windshield.

  10. How this blog went from thanking the Bernsteins for their continuing support for major events in this town to corporate tax rates just boggles my mind…Anyway, thanks Melissa and Doug for sponsoring the Fireworks.

    • Happens all the time. Go back to the post wishing for the toys to be made in the US. That is where the trail begins. Some one decided to make a political statement. In Westport, many can’t resist the opportunity to bring their ideology to bear on almost any topic. Makes for a very amusing blog. I am surprised the thread has not spun off the rails even further given the subject; the Fourth of July fireworks and good deeds. Think about the possibilities of holding forth on the Founding, alchohol consumption on the beach, a traffic nightmare, unruly crowds, the mess to be cleaned up, the politics of the Founders, etc., etc.

  11. I wish Melissa & Doug would help Angelina’s with their customer service…but they can’t because Angelina’s is run by a bunch of senseless punks!

    • Q.E.D.

    • It's all relative

      Rather then complaining, just dont eat there.
      We have other restaurants in Westport!


    • Fair Westporter

      Are you the same “Anonymous” who badmouths Angelina’s every few months? Shame on you (can’t stand up and use your name) but I’ve heard Westporters say that your snipes just nudge them to go support Angelina’s!

  12. Eric Buchroeder

    I agree with the comment about Warren Buffett. I can’t believe he doesn’t keep his mouth shut given some of the shenanigans that were pulled to get him where he is financially. The Oracle of Omaha is also the Orifice of Omaha.

    • you are an absolute ass. have you ever lived anywhere in the u.s. outside of the east coast? there are a LOT of folks that live in the middle of this country — and guess what? they don’t think the same way you do. they work. they work HARD! no sense of entitlement. bring it on!

  13. Westport Convert

    With a property valued at almost $30 million Melissa and Doug have more than enough space to just host the fireworks celebration, on their own, for free. Who’s in?


  14. Thank you Melissa & Doug. My family and I will be enjoying the fireworks thangs to your generosity.

  15. Elisabeth Rose

    Thank you, Melissa & Doug.

    I can’t resist chiming in for the Made in the U.S.A. debate. If these people (albeit extremely generous and kind) have $30 million to spend on a virtual park of their own, with several buildings, why can’t they pay higher taxes and have their toys made on their “home turf?” I am assuming it might be simply that they don’t want to deal w/ running a factory near where they live (which I can understand), but there are a million places they could set up shop, even if they aren’t there to oversee it just like they aren’t in China but obviously have someone running the show there… Furthermore, they would be among the “trail blazers” of folks trying to bring work back here, which would be great…

    • Elisabeth Rose

      Oops.. Can’t ever go back and edit our comments, gd it!
      I wanted to say that “I am assuming, BESIDES THE HIGH TAXES, it might be…. blah blah etc.”

    • USA - highest taxes...

      It’s obvious why M & D are the millionaires and your here making ridiculus comments.
      Bet you couldn’t run a bake sale and turn a profit.

  16. Anon Anonymous

    If Doug and Melissa do indeed produce their popular toys in China then they are certainly providing jobs for many people there. Individual Chinese people are working to improve their standard of living which is many levels below that of those in the United States. As a citizen of the world AND a proud and patriotic citizen of the USA I see this as a good thing.

    Thank you Doug and Melissa very much for hosting the fireworks!!!!