The 33rd Annual Great Bonac Fireworks will take place on Saturday at Three Mile Harbor in East Hampton beginning at 9:20 p.m. In the case of inclement weather the fireworks display will take place on Sunday night. The event is hosted by the Clamshell Foundation and proceeds benefit several local charities. The entire cost of the fireworks display has been underwritten by corporate sponsorship and public contributions.
The annual fireworks display over Three Mile Harbor began in the early '70s when George Plimpton, the late writer, actor and founder of The Paris Review, began hosting firework parties at his summer residences in Sagaponack and Amagansett. Because of Plimpton's love for the city of Paris, the fireworks have since then, always been scheduled for the first Saturday after Bastille Day.
The 3 Mile Harbor Fireworks soon became an event for public viewing, and in 1980, Mr. Plimpton partnered with Tony Duke and Felix Grucci Sr. Tony Duke founded Boys and Girls Harbor in 1937 to encourage children and their families to become full, prolific participants in society through education, cultural awareness and social services. When it was no longer possible to continue the George Plimpton/Boy's and Girl's Harbor fireworks event, the future of the show was jeopardized and the Clamshell Foundation agreed to assist with promoting and funding the event.
The Clamshell Foundation was founded in 1992. It raises
money for local and national charities including the East Hampton Dory Rescue
Squad, Toys for Tots, the Red Cross, as well as local food pantries and
shellfish programs. The Clamshell Foundation also awards environmental education
scholarships annually to East Hampton High School Students.
The word Bonac usually refers to the area of East Hampton called Springs. Many of the original Bonac families in Springs were among the very early settlers of the town, and came from England in the 17th and 18th centuries. Bonackers traditionally made their living as baymen, fishermen and farmers. The tradition of clamming was, and still is, at the heart of Bonac culture and cuisine.
The fireworks can be seen from many bay beaches, including Maidstone Park, Sammy’s Beach off Gann Road, or any of the beaches off of Hands Creek Road, Springy Banks Road or the head of 3 Mile Harbor. Spectators are encouraged to arrive early to secure parking.