Thousands crowded the beach and boardwalk in downtown Ocean City, New Jersey, for the annual July 4 fireworks display, set off from a barge a little offshore near the 10th Street beach.
It was standing room only for miles along the boardwalk, and many families arrived on the beach early with chairs and blankets to stake out their spot for the culmination of Independence Day weekend at the shore.
Ocean City police were out in force as well, on crowd control and traffic duty, and to keep civilian fireworks off the beach. In at least one instance, officers confiscated several large skyrockets after the first one was set off from within the crowd.
This year, sparklers and other fireworks that don’t explode, like glow worms and poppers, were legal in New Jersey, after Gov. Christie signed a bill last week allowing their possession and sale. While it was rarely enforced, New Jersey had been one of the few states in which sparklers were not legal. Firecrackers, skyrockets, and larger fireworks remain illegal without a special commercial display permit from the state.
The city had a $51,000 contract with Pyrotecnico Fireworks, Inc. of New Castle, Pa., for this year’s show, part of a two-year contract approved last September for upcoming fireworks displays. The contract also included a $21,000 show for Night in Venice, Ocean City’s annual boat parade planned this year for July 22.
The total contract calls for the city to spend $143,175 this year on fireworks, and an additional $149,675 in 2018.