Life in the Ville by Jimmy Del Ponte
(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries of The Somerville News belong solely to the authors of those commentaries and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville News, its staff or publishers.)
The weather was ominous. Would it rain or would the gods of fireworks look favorably on our plans?
Last Thursday night was Somerville’s annual fireworks celebration. I arrived at Trum Field at around 5 p.m. The DPW was busy setting up barriers, stages and chairs. The sky was grey and it had been raining lightly, but the show was on!
For me it was a big night because two singing groups that I direct were performing together for the first time. The Sunsetters and The Moonlighters (swinging singing seniors) sang three songs together to kick off the evening’s entertainment. Oh yea, I was also the DJ for the evening! The performers performed, and the fireworks went off leaving everyone with a feeling of extreme patriotism.
What impressed me the most was not the meticulous planning of organizers like Carlene Campbell, Public Works, Police, and the Mayor’s Office, but rather the people of our great city. We all came out to celebrate our country’s birthday and the gift of freedom. This year was extra special because of the tragedy at The Boston Marathon. We felt closer, and needed to be together more than in past years. I have attended many many Somerville fireworks celebrations but this year’s was by far the best.
There were more people than I ever remember seeing at the previous gatherings. As I said, I was doing the deejaying, but as soon as Booty Vortex began playing I took a little walk through the crowd. I knew we were headed toward a record turnout. I saw people I hadn’t seen in years! I saw one couple for the first time in over ten years. They had their three kids with them and their oldest son was as tall as me. The last time I saw him he was in a stroller. There were hugs, handshakes, fist pumps, and high fives.
I made my way back to the main stage where Mayor Joe and Frank Santangelo, from the DPW, were hanging out. As a Motown song blared from the speakers, we performed impromptu yet synchronized dance steps that The Temptations would have been jealous of. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but the crowd members who saw it seemed to like it.
That was the atmosphere Thursday night. People left their worries at home and enjoyed themselves. Deputy Chief Mike Cabral stood watch in front of the bandstand for the entire night, and there was an increased police presence. By the time Joe started the countdown to shut off the lights and start the fireworks, the crowd was at its thickest. There were people as far as the eye could see in every direction. I can honestly say that it was the biggest Somerville crowd I have ever seen. As one of my Facebook friends said, “Somerville really knows how to throw a party!”
Even with a slight mist and the chance of a downpour, seemingly a million Villens came out to enjoy an evening of fun. We feasted on fried dough, pizza, and ice cream. We purchased silly hats, necklaces and light up toys, many that would break before the evening’s end. But we were out hanging with our fellow Somerville people. There were politicians, reporters from both newspapers, young people, seniors, police and fire personnel and even drug and bomb sniffing dogs. And what was the outcome of this extensive gathering of jovial people? A mix of patriotism and fun that went off without a hitch.
The city of Somerville should be proud of what they accomplished last Thursday night. They provided their citizens with an evening of peaceful enjoyment. God Bless and happy Birthday America, and God bless Somerville. We are hardworking, God fearing, family loving, and passionately patriotic people. It’s just too bad most of us had to get up and work in the morning!