Thousands of people flocked to Lewes Beach July 4 for the second annual Go Fourth! Lewes Fireworks Show. Some arrived early by car, while others opted to come a little later and walk or ride bicycles to the beach.
The beach was bustling with activity hours before the show. With the barge sitting just 1,500 feet offshore, children ran around in the sand, played with sparklers and dug holes. The hot and humid weather didn’t stop people from coming to celebrate the holiday, and Two Dips and Dairy Queen were bursting at the seams.
Between the two ice cream shops was the Lewes Flag, a 20-foot-by-30-foot American flag that’s displayed every Fourth of July by Christian Mullins and his family.
“We feel it’s become a tradition for families to come here and take pictures every year,” he said, noting they’ve displayed it for about 10 years.
There’s a sign next to the flag asking people to post their photos on social media with the hashtag #LewesFlag. Mullins said they tracked about 300 social media interactions last summer, but the numbers are likely much higher.
The flag was intended to be flown at General Electric’s corporate offices in King of Prussia, Pa. It never made it to a flagpole, so the family, originally from the Philadelphia area, brought it down to the beach house they’ve owned since 2003.
They’ve even added a large screen next to the flag so children can watch a movie while visiting or waiting.
“We’re perfectly situated between Two Dips and Dairy Queen, so we get a lot of kids over here,” he said.
The show kicked off at about 9:15 p.m. and lasted about 20 minutes. Hours before the show, Sussex County Emergency Operations Center set up in the Queen Anne’s Pier parking lot, near the Savannah Road drawbridge. Mayor Ted Becker and City Manager Ann Marie Townshend toured the mobile command center.
The facility has cameras facing all directions, including one that extends up several dozen feet and has tremendous zoom capability. The unit was also tapped into an Office of Highway Safety drone that was flying overhead.
“It’s pretty impressive,” Becker said.
Over at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, folks packed into the facility’s green space, where they enjoyed live music from Glass Onion. With the Freeman Bridge closing at 8 p.m., most folks arrived early.
The Savannah Road drawbridge was closed to cars at about 7:15 p.m. Lt. James Azato of Lewes Police said the closure went pretty well. He said a steady stream of walkers and bicyclists passed by his post at the bridge.
The show was also visible from the western side of the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal, and many people chose to set up chairs in Canalfront Park or 1812 Park. Others stood along the drawbridge, which offered a great view.
After the show, a horde of bicyclists and pedestrians headed back to downtown. Police held most vehicular traffic about a half-hour until the crowd thinned.
There were few complaints about traffic on social media. Most said they learned from last year’s experience or heeded the advice for organizers to be patient or to walk or ride their bicycles to the show.
Paul Evalds of the Go Fourth! Lewes group said the fireworks website had more than 10,000 views in the week leading up to the show.
“People listened to the advice about traffic, timing, and travel,” he said. “Thank you to all the fireworks spectators for planning ahead and working with us to make this a great event. Finally, a huge shout-out to the citizens of Lewes who donated to Go Fourth. We will be back in 2020 with another great show."
“It went substantially better this year,” Lewes Police Chief Tom Spell said. “We got good comments from people who were there last year.”
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