The Great Bonac Fireworks Show is a 30 year tradition of mid-summer fireworks over Three Mile Harbor in East Hampton, and Peter and I got to see it from his cousin's boat smack-dab in the middle of the harbor - front row center. Originally started in the early 70s by George Plimpton, the late-writer, actor and founder of The Paris Review, for his friends visiting him on the East End, the event was always scheduled for the first Saturday following le quatorze juillet (14th of July a.k.a. Bastille Day) because of his love for Paris. The event soon became public and in 1980, Plimpton partnered with Tony Duke and Felix Grucci, Sr. to have the fireworks benefit the camp, Boys and Girls Harbor, which was founded by Duke. When it was no longer possible to continue the George Plimpton/Boys and Girls Harbor Fireworks event, The Clamshell Foundation took over the event in 2009 renaming it "The Great Bonac Fireworks Show".
Let me shed a little light on that regional expression, "Bonac" refers to an area of East Hampton called Springs. Bonackers descend from East Hampton's first white settlers, hardy souls who first landed, as lore tells it, at Accabonac Harbor. The harbor's name derives from an Algonquin word for "root place," perhaps somewhere wild potatoes grew, and the community became known as Bonac. Bonackers made their living as baymen*, fishermen, and farmers.
The Gruccis of New York staged the fireworks production and what a show it was. If you don't know, the Gruccis are a fifth-generation, family-owned and operated company on Long Island, NY that designs, produces, and displays over 300 performances all around the world every year. We loved the show so much, we want to share it with you in its entirety, so here it is in two parts (because of a YouTube restriction). In total its 15 minutes long, so grab a cup of coffee or tea, a coke or perhaps a glass of wine, set the settings to the highest resolution possible and expand it to fit your screen. Now sit back and enjoy, we certainly hope you do.
The Great Bonac Fireworks Show; © Peter Tooker, 2010
The Great Bonac Fireworks Show; ©Peter Tooker 2010
* Check out Billy Joel's song Downeaster "Alexa" to hear about these baymen.