Tag Archives: Westport 4th of July fireworks

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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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


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.


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.


(Photo/copyright Ted Horowitz)


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

(Photo/copyright Ted Horowitz)


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! Félicitations!

Fireworks Return, With A Bang!

It may not have been as big a celebration as when our nation was founded.

Or V-E Day. Or the Bicentennial.

But Westport celebrated America’s birth — 4 days early — yesterday, with plenty of pomp.

And fun.

The fireworks returned for the first time since the pandemic. The weather could not have been better. The vibe was fun, fantastic, and all-American.

One glitch could have been disastrous. A fire broke out on the fireworks barge near the end of the pyrotechnics.

Spectators thought it was part of the show. It was not.

The Westport Fire Department, with help from a Norwalk Fire Department fire boat, extinguished the blaze. There were concerns about unspent shells catching fire, but quick work averted disaster.

On shore, all went well. So whether you were one of the 15,000 or so at Compo Beach and environs yesterday, or not: Enjoy these photos. 

And enjoy the 4 days we still have left, through July 4th.

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

One small happy group, part of a great big happy crowd. (Photo/Dan Woog)

With tons of staff ,and a helpful police presence, there was no traffic backup entering the beach in late afternoon. The fact that many folks dropped off their chairs and tables early may have helped. Fireworks-goers did not feel the need to race down at 4:30 to grab a spot. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Soundview Drive scene. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Compo Beach lifeguards have a serious job. Today was incredibly busy yesterday. But they found time to celebrate the fireworks. (Photo/Dan Woog)

These chairs were not empty for long. Parties were soon underway, all around the Compo Beach neighborhood. (Photo/Diane Yormark)

Two fireworks traditions: sponsorship by Melissa & Doug (Bernstein, the toy manufacturers, center and right), and the most patriotic-themed outfit of the day, worn by RTM member Andrew Colabella. (Photo/Dan Woog)

The fireworks barge — and a few intrepid swimmers. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Former US national soccer team (and Staples) star, and NBC Sports broadcaster Kyle Martino did dad duty. (Photo/Dan Woog)

The fireworks are a major fundraiser for Westport PAL. If you got dropped off, or otherwise enjoyed the show without a ticket: There’s still time to donate! (Photo/Dan Woog)

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, 2nd Selectwoman Andrea Moore and former 1st Selectman Jim Marpe enjoyed Westport’s best party of the year. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Not all the action was outside. Kelly Loucas and Nancy Lally hung out at one of the many parties in and around Compo Beach. (Photo/dan Woog)

It doesn’t get more iconic than this. (Photo/Jo Shields Sherman)

Thanks to all who helped the show go off spectacularly. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Excitement builds! (Photo/Jo Shields Sherman)

By 8 pm, all those empty chairs had been filled. And the crowd kept coming. (Photo/Diane Yormark)

Friends near the cannons. (Photo/Karen Kosinski)

A marching band struts on Soundview Drive. (Photo/Dan Woog)

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

Taking a break. (Photo/Jo Shields Sherman)

Selling stuff at dusk. The barge is in the distance. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Kids love lights …. (Photo/Dan Woog)

… and sparklers. (Photo/Amy Chatterjee)

The national anthem. (Photo/Jo Shields Sherman)

Fireworks, reflected in a Soundview window. (Photo/Miggs Burroughs)

A fire near the barge was not part of the show. A fire boat from the Norwalk Fire Department extinguished the blaze. (Photo/Charlie Scott)

The fire boat in action. (Photo/Matthew Mandell)

Bombs bursting in air. (Photo/Charlie Scott)

Ooohs and aaahs. (Photo/Jennifer Johnson)

The money shot! (Photo/David Pogue)

(If you like our fireworks coverage, please support “06880.” Click here to donate!)

New For 2022. Next Year We Will See Dozens More.

Just when you thought the fireworks claiming-space arms race could not get any crazier, you see this:

(Photo/Gara Morse)

Reasonable people can disagree on the propriety of saving space with beach chairs.

Sure, it’s aggressive. But as James Morgan pointed out in a thoughtful comment this morning:

  1. There are not a lot of people on the beach most of today — a “working” Thursday.
  2. This will make entry smoother, once the gates open to ticket holders at 5 p.m.
  3. This is not like racing in right before a show starts. When they finally get there, most people will enjoy the beach for several hours before the fireworks begin.

Yet the photo above is mind-blowing. This is as aggressive a move as I’ve ever seen. It’s the Compo equivalent of “get off my lawn!”

Except in this case, it’s not his (or her) lawn.

Sure, reasonable people can differ. I have reserved a teeny tiny corner of my normally big heart to hear a defense of this rapacious roping practice.

It better be good.

Roundup: Affordable Housing; Car Thefts, Traffic, Tax …

The Planning and Zoning Commission adopted a 5-year affordable housing plan last night. The bipartisan vote was 5-0, with 2 abstentions.

Highlights include:

Creating a new affordable community designed specifically for families.

• The formation of a town-funded Affordable Housing Trust Fund to direct resources towards future development of affordable housing.

• The immediate development of location specific plans for town-owned land to meaningfully expand and/or renovate existing rental housing/structures to create affordable housing, and potentially partner with nonprofits engaged in this work.

• Allocation of the approximately $1,700,000 in the town’s Real Property Fund to acquire land for future development of affordable housing.

• The deed restriction of existing town-owned rental properties so that they are affordable and remain affordable to renters.

• The adoption of a new zoning district at Powell Place to ensure that existing deeply affordable housing (40% State Median Income or less) can be more intensively redeveloped with flexible parking requirements reflecting the availability of public lots nearby.

There is much more in the 5-year plan. Click here for a full “06880” report.

Part of the 5-year affordable housing plan envisions a “model pocket neighborhood/cottage commons” design. (Courtesy of Ross Chapin AIA)


You’d think by now everyone would have gotten the message.

Nope. Here’s the latest Groundhog Day news from the Westport Police Department:

On Saturday, several cars were broken into. All were unlocked. Go figure.

This often happens at night. However, these crimes occurred in late afternoon and early evening.

The WPD once again reminds Westporters to lock your cars and bring your keys or fobs inside. And never leave valuables — cash purses, wallets, electronics — in your car.


The Police Department also offers this advice, for the June 30th fireworks:

Spectators should arrive early. Traffic delays are inevitable.

Compo Beach closes at 4 p.m. Only vehicles with fireworks passes can remain.  Parks & Recreation staff will collect passes. The beach should reopen to ticket holders by 5 p.m.

Vehicles with tickets can access the beach through South Compo Road only. Hillspoint Road south of Greens Farms Road will be open to residents who live south of that intersection.

Firework attendees should display their ticket prominently on the dashboard. It will be collected at the parking gate.

All ticket holders must be inside Compo Beach by 9 p.m.  No beach traffic will be allowed south of the Minute Man monument after that time.

Vehicles without tickets will not be allowed any further toward Compo Beach than the Minute Man.

Uber, Lyft or taxi users will be directed straight past the Minute Man, on Compo Road South. They can be dropped off at Soundview Drive. Return service will not be available until after 11 p.m., due to 1-way traffic leaving the beach.

When the fireworks end, there will be 2 lanes of 1-way traffic only on Compo Beach Road and South Compo, to the intersection of Greens Farms Road. Residents of that area returning from elsewhere should expect a delay of 1 hour or so.


The fun doesn’t end with the fireworks. On Saturday, July 9, Westport Sunrise Rotary’s Great Duck Race returns. There’s a new location — Jesup Green — but the same family fun.

The day begins with a 10 a.m. Fun Fair in the Westport Library parking lot. Activities include a Nerdy Derby, face painting and bubble machines.

At 1 p.m. on Jesup Green, 3,000 plastic ducks will slide down a 160-foot sluice course. Each wears a number, matching a $20 raffle ticket. The first 10 ducks down the course win money for their ticket holders. First place is $5,000. Second place wins $1,000. The next 8 finishers get $500 each.

The event is a major Sunrise Rotary fundraiser. Proceeds support charitable endeavors in this area, the state and around the world.

Click here for tickets, and to learn more about Sunrise Rotary. 


When Dick Lowenstein received his 2022-23 tax bill yesterday, he was surprised to see that the gross assessment had risen on his 2 vehicles. The dollar amounts were not huge, but the percentages were: 29% higher for his 2002 Lexus, 11% for his 2014 Honda CRV.

He called tax assessor Paul Friia. The immediate response: Gross assessment is based on standard information provided to the assessor. “Presumably, because of supply shortages, new car production has been delayed. Many people are instead buying used cars, which has driven up their value,” Dick reports.

I wonder what this Maserati will be assessed at next year. (Photo/Jerry Kuyper)


Yesterday’s rain postponed the Remarkable Theater showing of “Caddyshack.” The new date is Monday, July 11 (8:30 p.m.; gates open at 7:30 p.m.).

Click here for tickets, and more information.


Our “Westport … Naturally” feature is open to everyone. We run photos of anything “natural” in town: animals, birds, flowers, trees — you name it. If it lives, we want to showcase it.

We are especially interested in images from young readers. Today we welcome 15-year-old Benji Porosoff, who captured this scene:

(Photo/Benji Porosoff)


And finally … on this day in 1969, the Stonewall riots began in New York. The uprising — sparked by a police raid on the Stonewall Inn gay bar — is considered the start of the LGBTQ rights movement.

Ten years later, Diana Ross commissioned Chic founder (and current Westporter) Nile Rodgers to create material for her new album. One song was inspired after he saw drag queens dressed as Diana Ross at a New York club. It is now considered an anthem of the LGBTQ community.

(“06880” is supported solely by readers. Please click here to contribute.)

Happy 3rd Of July!

Sure, the beach was crowded — particularly the Soundview section, nearest the lot. But there was room for everyone. 

Little kids bought sparklers, jumped off the lifeguard stands, and got lost.

Bigger kids roamed up and down with friends. They did what teenagers do, and have always done before, during and after the fireworks.

Families of all ages picnicked and partied. The Cobras from New Jersey danced up a storm. The weather was gorgeous. The fireworks rocked. 

Once again, our July 3rd celebration was Westport at its best. 

Now enjoy the 4th!

It’s not the 4th of July without Andrew Colabella.

For a kid, it doesn’t get better than this.

Westport’s finest were out in force.

USA! (Photo/Dylan Chatterjee, 8th grade)

One of hundreds of picnics.

The Cobra dance and drum team wowed the crowd.

The beach scene, from a Soundview party.

2nd Selectman Jen Tooker and 1st Selectman Jim Marpe flank Marpe’s son-in-law.

The inside of Doc Davidson’s Bradley Street fence shows Ebbets Field — perfect for a cookout.

Low tide, beach toys, strollers — and the barge.

Eric Berniker celebrates America. The beer belly and tattoos are fake. (Photo/Jen Berniker)

Lots of porta-potties — but still long lines. (Photo/Rick Benson)

Stars and stripes …

… forever. Patti Brill and Tammy Barry. (Contributed photo)

Sparkler fun … (Photo/Rick Benson)

… and glowstick fun (Photo/Jennifer Kobetitsch)

The view from Old Mill Beach. (All photos by Dan Woog, unless otherwise noted)

Fireworks, as seen from Sherwood Drive. (Photo/Stacy Bass)

[UPDATE] Presented Without Comment: Compo Beach, 10 a.m.

(Photo/Laura Bryer)

And at 10:30:

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

[UPDATE] Like Swallows To Capistrano

Compo Beach, 6:30 this morning:

Hurry! Don’t be late!


And, at 7 a.m.:



3rd Of July Photos Needed

Tomorrow is the 3rd of July. Cue the fireworks!

“06880” readers are great at crowd-sourcing Memorial Day photos. Dozens come in. It’s a great way to see the parade, through many different eyes.

Let’s do the same tomorrow. As you get ready for the fireworks — picnicking, painting faces red-white-and-blue, playing with sparklers, claiming huge swaths of sand and tables at 6:30 a.m. — send your photos (email: dwoog@optonline.net). Deadline: 10 p.m. Please include brief identification if needed, and of course your own name.

I’ll post some (not all!) tomorrow.

Be creative! We want special photos, for our special day. Just one request: Go easy on the fireworks photos. No offense, but unless you’re a real pro they all look the same.

This is the kind of photo I’m looking for …

… or this …

… or this.

Read And Heed: Traffic Info For Fireworks Tomorrow

Headed to the fireworks tomorrow?

You and everyone else! Here are some things to know before you go. According to the Westport Police:

This well-attended event with heavy vehicular and pedestrian traffic affects all roads south of Greens Farms Road, between Compo Road South and Hillspoint Road. Spectators should plan ahead, as traffic delays are inevitable.

The beach closes at 4 p.m. Fireworks ticket holders will be asked to report to their cars, to verify they can remain parked in the lot.

The beach should reopen to ticket holders by approximately 5 p.m. That’s the time vehicles will be allowed in. Drivers should display their ticket prominently on the dashboard.

If everyone cooperates, getting into the beach goes smoothly.

Vehicular access will be through South Compo Road only. Hillspoint Road south of Greens Farms Road will be open only to people who live south of that intersection.

Vehicles without a ticket cannot go closer to Compo Beach than the Minute Man statue. Shuttle buses will run from Longshore Park by the marina to Compo Beach, if the tickets for the beach sell out. So far, a few tickets remain unsold.

Uber, Lyft and taxis will be directed straight past the Minute Man on Compo Road South. People being dropped off can walk from the corner of Compo Road South and Soundview Drive to the beach.

NOTE: If you use this method of transportation, return service will not be available until after 11 p.m., due to 1-way traffic exiting the beach area.

At the end of the fireworks display, 2-way traffic will be suspended on Compo Beach Road and South Compo Road to the intersection of Greens Farms Road. There will be 2 lanes of northbound traffic on those streets until the beach is cleared.

Residents of this area will encounter delays getting home for approximately 1 hour, or until traffic has cleared from the Compo Beach area.

Hillspoint Road is also used for drivers leaving the beach.

Anyone planning to pick up family members in the beach area should also plan for delays.

“Saving” A Spot For Tomorrow’s Fireworks? Read This!

It’s inevitable.

Moments after the sun rises tomorrow, someone will send me a photo like this:

Or this:

Or this:

I’m not sure who these people are, who think that reserving massive swaths of sand — or long picnic tables, with “You Cannot Reserve Tables” plastered prominently on them — is cool.

Well, actually I do. They’re all named Dick.

Don’t be like Dick. If you want a prime spot, pick a little bit of it. And have someone stay there all day. You can even hire some kid — yours, or someone else’s — to do it.

If the situation gets even more out of hand than it recently has — and it’s gotten grosser and greedier every year for the past few — we might want to consider the Shore & Country Club solution.

It’s private — but a prime viewing site for Norwalk’s fireworks (also July 3). Alert “06880” reader David Loffredo forwarded an email, from the club to members.

In late June, members who wanted a picnic table for fireworks day could click a link, to enter a drawing. They could request marina or beachhouse side, or covered or uncovered — but nothing was guaranteed.

Winners were selected randomly, and assigned a random table. Each table will be labeled with the member’s name.

One more, for good measure. (Photo/Amy Schneider)

What a great idea! We could auction off not only South Beach tables but prime spots of sand, from the cannons to the Soundview jetty.

It could even be a fundraiser for PAL (or Parks & Rec, for beach improvements): $5 to enter. If you don’t pay, you can’t play…

Better yet: a raffle! Tables and plots of sand could be clearly marked online; click on one, and bid. Just think how much that would raise 🙂

But here’s the best idea of all — and we can do it tomorrow.

Confiscate any unattended stuff, and charge Dick and his friends to get it back.

If it’s not claimed by, say, 6 p.m.: Sell it to whoever wants it.

Some of those tents, beach chairs, tables, coolers, portable grills — and the food in them — are pretty pricey. They could fund an entirely new bathroom!