It’s only 8:30 a.m.
But much of the prime Compo Beach real estate has already been claimed for tonight’s 30th of June fireworks.
Hundreds of chairs and dozens of tents fill the sand, from jetty to jetty. A large towel is draped across the Soundview Avenue seawall, near a particularly enormous circle of empty chairs.
There’s no report from South Beach, but I’m sure most of the picnic tables’ “Tables May Not Be Reserved” signs are covered up.
Some folks play nice — staying with their stakeouts. (Okay, maybe they’re just protecting them.)
Others will return in a few hours.
Perfect weather, plus the return of Westport’s Best Party Ever after 2 COVID years, ensure that tonight’s crowd will be huge.
Remember: The beach closes at 4 p.m. Only vehicles with fireworks passes can remain. No one can enter Compo again until all passes have been checked — predicted to be around 5 p.m.
See you there!
Never understand why the town allows for the squatters? I lived in another town & state prior to Westport and it had a much larger event. People used to tape off spaces for a parade and other bizarre attempts at reserving prime spots well before the event. And of course, showed up soon before the actual event. The town – and citizens – simply picked up & ignored such attempts and eventually people learned. I’d love to see people simply stack up the chairs nicely by the wall and reclaim space from these self-indulgent squatters. I’m sure groups will be celebrating their squatting friends later today, but sadly all they’ll be doing is celebrating selfishness.
Great title Dan! Happy Independence Day everyone!
There are a few “it’s just what we do in this town” things that I still struggle with 7 years in – is it really that hard to push a shopping cart back to the front of the store! – but there are a number of reasons I at least have embraced this one.
First, it’s partly a function of having the event during the week when many people are still working. Even in a new hybrid environment, it still means a lot of people not able to be there at 5pm. At the same time, it being during mid-week, when many people are working or in camps, means there is likely minimal – but not no – disruption or inconvenience to those trying to enjoy the beach during the day.
Second, I think it makes for a smoother, less fraught entry when the doors do open at 5pm, as I can only imagine the aggressiveness / impatience of the drivers and the gold-rush style stampede that would result if everybody clambered for space at the same time.
And third, this (for the mast majority, at least) isn’t a matter of people locking down the best viewing positions so that they can arrive just before the event to enjoy it. This is a whole evening town social event, and the people that stake out those spots are planning to spend 4-plus hours eating, drinking, laughing, telling stories and catching up with friends, both intentionally and surreptitiously.
It doesn’t mean people don’t take it too far, that there is non-neighborly behavior or that they shouldn’t still follow the rules – hello, picnic tables! – so certainly understand it can be a source of frustration. But for me, at least, I’m looking forward to enjoying one of the best nights of the town calendar.
Hope to everybody tonight!
I wanted Dan to title the post as: “Do you have a reservation?” 🙂
I find this ‘real estate staking’ to be obnoxious, disgusting, ridiculous and selfish. Look at the size of some of these ‘reserved’ spots! Go ahead and enjoy yourselves. I choose not to be around people like this.
Here’s a title for the masses…
You can’t miss me, i’m in the blue chair “