South Florida is hot in the summer. Every day it heats up to 90 or 92 degrees, and then cools down to a refreshing 80 or so at night. Humid? You bet. This goes on for a solid 4 or 5 months without a break. But the water temperature is in the low 80s, and the crowds of snowbirds are gone. It’s green and lush with tropical plants and flowers. The water has beautiful colors, sometimes blue and sometimes green. And the skies! You’ve never seen such amazing skies – clouds of all types, many full of moisture, great sunsets, and rainbows. It’s subtropical, and it’s simply different from the rest of this wonderful country.
While most people think that SoFla is sort of the capital of the Caribbean, it is still very much the U.S. its location in the South also means that it remains, despite its tremendous immigrant diversity, heavily influenced by all things southern. Bar-b-que, religion, beer, guns, rednecks, football, and on the 4th of July, fireworks.
Now people all over the U.S. love their fireworks, but I’ve never seen anything like the private displays that go on in SoFla. I don’t know where you go to buy professional sky-rockets, but I think I was the only one in the 3 county region who was clueless. They are everywhere.
We ventured up to Pompano Beach to watch the city’s display off of the pier that juts out into the ocean. We got there about an hour or so before the fireworks began, and settled onto a spot in the sand along with thousands of others. That’s when the fun began. Have you ever heard, from close range, the sound of those professional fireworks? The guys who run the big public displays say that they sound like mortars being fired. Well, let me tell you, we began randomly hearing that sound all over the place as we sat on the beach. We quickly figured out that once that sound was heard to look skyward and see the resulting rocket burst. It was fun.
It was also a bit dangerous. Now, we’re not timid around fireworks, and I’ve bought and used my fair share of seriously big bottlerockets, enough to bring the cops to my house back in my more rambunctious days (I blamed the neighbors, of course). But this was something different altogether. People didn’t seem to care where you were sitting or whether you were even paying attention to what they were doing. The penultimate result was of a group of about 20 or so people, with half the group being kids ranging in ages from about 6 – 12, beginning to blast away about 15 feet from us.
They came equipped for bedlam. Whoosh went the mortar sounds. We stood up now because this stuff was CLOSE, and the wind-blown cinders were falling about 10 feet away. Cones on the beach? Of course. Sparklers? Let the 2 year olds hold them and laugh like hell. And then a hefty bottle rocket that came down and landed on Helen’s foot (no injury), but we moved up-wind and further back. Here’s a picture of that baby with my ugly toes showing for perspective’s sake:
Finally, this mysterious box came out. I’ve never seen a firework like this. It was a cube, probably a foot tall, deep and wide. You lit it once, but it did all kinds of things. A sky rocket came blasting out, went up about 50 feet and then blew up nicely. I figured that was it, but it kept on sparking. A ground level flame of sparks came next, and when they say “caution, emits showers of sparks,” they meant it because a lot of them came raining down on the little kids (no need for a bath tonight kiddos, just play in the shower). And then lots of banging like fire crackers and finally another sky rocket. It was cool, but damn dangerous at close range. Perfect southern fun!
Right after that, the pier erupted and the huge public show went off, but that didn’t stop the private displays. Our heads remained on a swivel. I’ve been to many public fireworks displays, this one was typical in many ways: the crowd was festive, nice and orderly, but I’ve never seen a crowd so stocked to the hilt with fireworks. After the public display, we walked back over the intra-coastal to our car, and on our drive home, saw many more rockets from backyards all over Pompano. It was fantastic.
Here are a couple of pictures of the SoFla tropical foliage and the pier fireworks. I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Independence Day. It only took the Brits 240 years to get their own Brexit, and I hope theirs is as successful as ours has been. Back to rock in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1: whoosh!
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.