We spend every July 4th at Conesus Lake in New York state’s Finger Lakes region. While the 4th is a great holiday, it’s the 3rd that is the big day here. On the night of the third, everyone with a home on the lake lights flares they’ve lined up near the water at 10 pm. The red lights circle the lake, making a ring of fire. There are also bonfires at just about every home, and there are fireworks everywhere. Municipal fireworks are shot off at Vitale Park at the north end of the lake, but about every third house has fireworks they shoot from the ends of their docks. One of our neighbors has so many that he backs a trailer up to his house every year to unload and then spends the day carrying stacks of boxes out onto the dock. It makes for quite a show. In fact, it’s hard to even know which direction to look in, there are so many spectacular lights in the sky. Fireworks are very different when they are exploding directly over your head!
People start “practicing” during the afternoon and by 9 pm there are fireworks everywhere. It lasts until the wee hours of the morning and I’m always in bed hearing more explosions happen outside.
A recent addition to the festivities are Chinese lanterns, tissue paper lanterns with a square of flammable tar at the bottom. You light the tar, wait for the hot air to fill the lantern and let it go. It rises up, up, up until you can’t see it. The sky is filled with these, but I admit they make me nervous that one will end up in a tree or on someone’s roof.
All of this fun has a few downsides. Our dogs go completely crazy. They hate the noise. We leave them in the house and try to get them to stay in an interior room with the doors closed. Another big issue is that the next morning there is debris everywhere. The deck is covered in dust and scraps of paper. The water has garbage floating in and we clean up what washes ashore. Any cars that are outside are covered in debris. At least this year we didn’t hear any sirens, so hopefully there were no injuries.
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