Under a blazing sun and the whirling of bicycle wheels, the 4th of July in Weston started with the first annual triathlon. The race itself began at the Weston Middle School and incorporated running, biking and swimming — feats of strength made all the more unbelievable considering the day’s high temperatures.
The triathlon had 95 participants, comprised of both Westonites and triathlon aficionados from surrounding towns. Mostly children were enrolled in the Tri Fitness-sponsored event, said Aimee Grant, an event volunteer.
Pascal Butcher, who organized the triathlon with Weston Parks and Recreation, could be seen weaving throughout the triathlon in her red Mini-Cooper, adding a festive touch to the event.
Supportive dad Sean McCaffrey cheered his two children, Clare, 10, and Finn, 12, throughout the triathlon. He said it was “fantastic to involve children in triathlons” especially as Mr. McCaffrey has been involved in triathlons “for years.”
Both Clare and Finn were excited about the triathlon; they crossed the finish line with both parents beaming proudly.
Additional events that went on during the daylight hours of the 4th of July included a relaxing day by the pond at the Bisceglie-Scribner Park as well as the annual pre-fireworks barbecue on the Weston Middle School field.
Families gathered with picnic baskets and beach blankets in tow, starting at 4:30.
There were high expectations for the fireworks this year, especially for those who have been coming to the fireworks in Weston for as long as they can remember.
Longtime resident Michelle Crimmins Smith has been coming to the fireworks for 30 years and has been coming with her family for 20 years. Ms. Smith said it’s her family’s “favorite tradition” and that they have been “almost every year” as a family.
Similarly, the Gurman family has been attending the fireworks in Weston for about a dozen years. Ms. Gurman, too, called the fireworks a “tradition” for her family.
As the evening progressed among a haze of bug spray and the delighted shrieks of children, the familiar sounds of old jazz songs floated above the crowd. Played by the Westport Community Band early in the evening, the band set the mood for the night.
The middle school field was packed before the sun had even began to set — it was hard to walk between the various tables, soccer games and dancing kids.
Dave Ungar, director of Weston Parks and Recreation, said approximately 2,700 people attended the fireworks this year, a number that eclipses last year’s.
The fireworks were “better than last year’s! The show was tremendous,” Mr. Ungar said.
He especially enjoyed seeing the sheer number of people who attended this year enjoying themselves. “That many people in one place enjoying something makes your day. The final pause after the finale when the crowd erupts into cheers and applause makes it all worthwhile. It was a wonderful family day that went off without a hitch.”
Weston First Selectman Gayle Weinstein agreed this year’s show was the “best fireworks ever… I love this event because it brings the entire community together, which is what Weston is all about,” she said.
Ms. Weinstein talked to the crowd about the significance of July Fourth and read excerpts from the founding fathers.
The Magic Genie (a.k.a. Weston’s own Nissan Evantoff) made an appearance and entertained fireworks aficionados, both young and old.
An unexpected delight was the sight of bagpipe player Gregor McIntyre, who was there to play in honor of Scottish-born Westonite Joe Moreledge acquiring his American citizenship.
The Straight Note Chasers Band opened and closed the fireworks display with their renditions of classic 80s and 90s songs — they had a lot of people on their feet.
The fireworks themselves were an amazing show: well-timed and well-coordinated arches of light that lit up the night sky in brilliant hues and dazzling formations. The crowd was oohing and aahing; no one dared to move until the end of not just one, but a second grand finale. It was that big.