Roundup: Stakeout, Sand, Soundview …

There is a back story to yesterday’s post about the “stakeout” at the Compo Beach fireworks: the large section of sand marked off by stakes and ropes.

Just before 7:30 p.m. last night — as crowds swelled — I received this email:

“I was involved in the group that staked out a portion of the beach today. It clearly looks bad, and I guess we should have thought of another way to handle it.

“Some members of my church are bringing 30 men from the Pivot House substance abuse program in Bridgeport to Compo for the fireworks. We wanted them to have a nice night out, and to know that there are people supporting them.

“We had a cookout at the church prior to the show, and wanted to make sure we had a large enough space so they could all be together, and frankly insulated from the amount of drinking that will be going on around them.

“While the stakes were overly aggressive, I wanted you to know it was coming from a good place.”

All’s well that ends well. Next year, they’ll put up several signs noting exactly why the area was staked out.

And no one else will copy the idea for family and friends.

Yesterday’s stakeout. (Photo/Gara Morse)

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Meanwhile, in one of the most astonishing (and under-appreciated) vanishing acts of the year, Westport’s Parks & Recreation and Public Works Departments worked (once again) through the night to turn last night’s massive bash into this morning’s pristine beach. Gone, miraculously, are (literally) tons of trash.

When the final firework faded (and the barge fire was doused), thousands of partyers headed to their cars. They left behind all the remains of picnics, barbecues and open bars, plus countless chairs, tables, towels, and probably a random kid or two.

Let’s hear it for all the men and women we never saw, who made sure that when the sun came up, not a trace of last night remained!

Compo Beach, 8 a.m. this morning. Party? What party? (Photo/Karen Como)

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Speaking (still) of the fireworks:

One of the great parts (among many) of last night’s show was the scene along Soundview Drive.

Closed to vehicles, the waterfront road became a party promenade.

People of all ages strolled up and down, greeting friends and enjoying the views. A marching band strutted; music blared from house parties; vendors sold sparklers.

Kids rode bikes and scooters. Police officers chatted with teenagers. It was like Venice Beach in California, without the body builders.

So I’ll resurrect the idea I throw out every year, which never goes anywhere: Why do we do this only once a year?

How about 2 or 3 other dates each summer? Pick a few Sundays. Close down Soundview. Bring in a band or two, maybe some jugglers and clowns too.

Okay, Parks & Rec, police and selectwomen. Let the good times roll!

Soundview Avenue — without vehicles — was a place to see, and be seen. (Photo/Diane Yormark)

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There may have been 15,000 people at the Compo fireworks last night.

But dozens of others opted instead for MoCA Westport.

They enjoyed the less crowded but equally exciting opening reception for the summer exhibition, “Women Pulling at the Threads of Social Discourse.” It explores how female artists use textiles to subvert the social expectation of crafting by lambasting this soft medium with political and social awareness.

The museum will hold free “Cocktails & Conversations” events on select Thursday evenings, featuring speakers relevant to the exhibition. Free gallery tours will also be available. Click here for details.

Shelly McCoy writes on her interactive piece, “We The People.” Musem-goers are invited to write their own thoughts and feelings about the US and its politics, in red and blue crayons. (Photo/Leslie LaSala)

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After 3 years Westport’s first poet laureate, Diane Meyer Lowman, has passed her pen along. Newly appointed laureate Jessie Noyes McEntee has taken over.

First Selectwoman Jen Tooker paid tribute to Diane and her contributions, in a Westport Library event on Wednesday.

Poet laureates Diane Lowman (left) and Jessie McEntee on the Library screen, and the crowd after the ceremony. (Photo/Dave Matlow)

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Sunday marked a milestone: The Susan Fund has now distributed more than $2 million in scholarships to area students diagnosed with cancer. For the 3rd year in a row, this disbursement ($99,500, to 23 recipients) set a record.

The Fund honors Susan Lloyd, a Staples High School graduate who lost her battle with cancer before starting college at Colgate University. Her mother, Fund founder and chair Ann Lloyd, served as MC for this year’s ceremony.

To learn more or to donate, click here.

Ann Lloyd

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Details come later, but mark your calendar now:

The 2nd annual VersoFest is set for March 30 through April 2, 2023, at the Westport Library.

The multimedia festival — with music, workshops and much more — builds on the success and power of this year’s inaugural event.

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Thanks to all who sent fireworks-and-more shots yesterday. I’m sorry I could not use them all.

But before we go, here’s one I just got, from a true pro — Ted Horowitz. It’s not from Compo Beach, though. He captured the view from Harbor Road perfctly.

Enjoy!

(Photo/copyright Ted Horowitz)

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A few hours earlier, Ted captured (on camera) this handsome egret, for “Westport … Naturally”:

(Photo/copyright Ted Horowitz)

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And finally … as we head into our Independence Day holiday, let’s not forget our neighbors to the north. It’s Canada Day today.

Congratulations! FĂ©licitations!

12 responses to “Roundup: Stakeout, Sand, Soundview …

  1. Social media makes it too easy to be too quick to judge.

  2. MICHAEL CALISE

    Dan,
    I second your Kudos for the massive cleanup. I walked Soundview and beyond after most had left last night and the strewn about debris was beyond belief!. Hard to believe people could be so irresponsible!!! Great cleanup job! And Kudos also to the Police and Fire crews as well as all the volunteers who did a magnificent job as well.

  3. Carol Davidson Woldt

    beach clean up after the fireworks should be easy for such an environmentally friendly town. Why do people leave all their crap for someone else to clean up after them? Leave the pristine beach better than you found it. I moved to NJ years ago and miss Compo the most. I named my dog Compo! You are blessed to have it!

  4. MICHAEL CALISE

    But to be fair it shines light on self centered behavior and produces a thoughtful response.

  5. Perhaps it would be helpful for a process to be put in place by P&R, RTM, PAL, or whoever controls the beach, regarding nonprofit groups staking out large sections of the beach for fireworks or other high traffic days/times? Designated measured section(s) set aside with an application process and signage? Not sure this first show up, first grap as much as you can free-for-all is a great system IMHO? Clearly a work in progress…

    • The chairs and tents should be treated as abandoned property/littering and removed throughout the day.

      Oh, and if not-for-profits can fence off a wide section for their exclusive use, then we should have our own Woog/06880 section next year for us readers of this blog, now that this blog is a not-for-profit.

  6. Wow, that is BRILLIANT! The new non-profit Woog/06880 organization should set up a football field’s size zone with spikes, fencing, and appropriate signs advising others to not impinge on our territory. Great forward thinking.

  7. And Town Workers were out with a streetsweeper making the approach to Compo and Soundview yesterday morning. Nice elegant touch for a special Westport Day…and do a mean job of plowing roads in winter, too!

  8. Isabelle Breen

    As for cordoning off an area, yeah it looked bad, but I know the work done by and the men that find their way to Pivot House. It is truly amazing how hard these men work to reclaim their lives from drug addiction and homelessness. I commend the church and it’s parishioners for giving them some joy and relief that the rest of us take for granted. As they say in AA when you point a finger, there are 3 pointing back at you”. Cut ’em some slack.

  9. Cristina Negrin

    15,000 at Compo beach is why I left town. I have my memories since 1960 I live in a small town in MI UP it is vacationland and nothing like this.

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