Independence Day celebrated with a bang in South County
SOUTH COUNTY – There was a lot worth celebrating this Independence Day.
After a year and half of social distancing and mask wearing, the crowds of red, white and blue that lined the sea wall in Narragansett, and were spread out on blankets at Old Mountain Field in South Kingstown, were joyously embraced.
The community wasn’t only celebrating the birth of our nation, and the freedoms we enjoy every day thanks to those who defend it — we were celebrating our lives returning to normal, and the pandemic slowly receding into our rearview mirrors.
The forecast last weekend was not promising for southern Rhode Island, though thankfully, the clouds parted long enough for everyone to experience an Independence Day they likely won’t soon forget.
“We are ecstatic to be back,” South Kingstown Town Council Vice President Rory McEntee announced to the excited crowd at Old Mountain Field. “It’s been a long year, but we are resilient. We are back, we are open for business and we’re stronger than ever, so we feel great about that.”
South Kingstown’s fireworks display, he claims, is the best in the state.
“It’s been a long two years,” interim South Kingstown Town Manager Terry Murphy said, taking a moment to thank the parks and recreation department, as well as the town’s highway division and public safety employees for making this celebration possible.
Families and complete strangers danced together as South Kingstown native Colby Geaber, lead vocalist of Take It To The Bridge, belted out covers of hit songs. Children were seen playing in the fields, and long lines formed at the concession. Groups of friends and extended family members eagerly embraced one another, and parked themselves in lawn chairs or stretched out on blankets.
According to South Kingstown Police Chief Joel Ewing-Chow estimates a crowd of at least 8,000 people were in and around Old Mountain Field that evening to view the firework display.
“We had no issues with the crowds at all,” Ewing-Chow happily reported. “Everyone was happy to be out and about and I will say it was one of the longest and best fireworks displays I have seen in a long time.”
Large crowds were also seen in Narragansett, and many of the roads in both towns saw a bit of traffic after the displays were over. The main roadways to the highway, especially heading back north of The Towers, experienced the same congestion you might expect on a busy beach day.
That evening, while crowds prepared for the lights to go dark over Old Mountain Field, South Kingstown High School sophomore Jasmine Black, 15, sang out the National Anthem.
Afterwards, she was joined by Councilman McEntee and Councilwoman Jess Rose as they shouted out the official 10 second countdown to an anxiously awaiting crowd. As the lights went out, the first fireworks shot up into the air — dazzling everyone below with an array of colors.
It was an Independence Day celebration much like any other, but after a year and a half of living through a pandemic that kept us indoors and isolated from friends and families, the gathering felt unforgettable.