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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • Gary Brown: Tips for enjoying fireworks

  • Nothing says the Fourth of July like picnic baskets and fireworks. I’ve got no baked beans or potato salad on hand, so you’ll have to pack your own food, but here are some tips for enjoying the booms and the flashes of fireworks shows on the holiday.

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  • Nothing says the Fourth of July like picnic baskets and fireworks. I’ve got no baked beans or potato salad on hand, so you’ll have to pack your own food, but here are some tips for enjoying the booms and the flashes of fireworks shows on the holiday.
    • Exclaim “Oooooh!” and “Aaaaah!” a lot. It’s traditional, almost patriotic. I’m sure that the people standing under the original bombs bursting in air — which fireworks are meant to symbolize — didn’t show this much enthusiasm. But, over the decades, with the development of strictly enforced fireworks safe zones and more comfortable portable chairs, the feeling of danger is minimized. Few people duck and cover during a modern fireworks show. We say “Aaaaaaw” and sigh in unison without any nervousness whatsoever.
    • Never ask, “Did you see that one?” It’s just going to disappoint people. These are individuals who are standing within a few feet of you, with their eyes gazing at the same sky you are looking at, seeing the same bursts of color and brightness that are capturing your attention. I’m guessing they saw all the fireworks you just watched. But, if they did happen to drop food, or be called by a young child, or accidentally step on a small pet, and their attention was distracted, do you want to have to say, “Oh, too bad,” and send them home with the belief that they missed the most beautiful individual explosion in the history of fireworks? “That was the best one I’ve ever seen; too bad you were looking down and saying ‘Mommy will take you to the bathroom in a minute ...’ ”
    ENJOYING THE VIEW
    • Try to stand with short people in front. This may be difficult to accomplish in a public area where hundreds or even thousands of people have gathered for fireworks. But, out of courtesy for others, we all should try to understand that one tall father with a child sitting on his shoulders can ruin it for everybody behind him. It may sound rude, but I think it’s totally acceptable at the beginning of a fireworks display to make the announcement, “Tall people, either get down on the ground or go to the back of the crowd.”
    • Along a similar vein — and I shouldn’t have to tell you this — if you are parking in a lot so you can watch fireworks in the comfort of your car, avoid the place behind a recreational vehicle or you’ll miss most of the low ones.
    • Don’t be a smarty pants. Even if you are the type of person who likes to study up on everything, enjoy your knowledge silently. Putting a name to each fireworks effect — “They call that a multi-hue mosaic” — could be distracting to those around you, whose entire understanding of fireworks might be summed up in the observation, “Wow, look at all the beautiful colors. ...”
    Page 2 of 2 - NEARING THE END
    • As the show continues, anticipation will engulf a typical fireworks crowd. Everyone will be waiting for that last, huge combination of bursts that will signal the end of the show. Wait patiently. Do not stand up after a particularly long and interesting series of bursts and announce your departure. Fireworks displays these days have two or even three preliminary “grand finales” and you don’t want to be bending over picking up your cooler when the truly awesome one arrives.
    • Try not to compare different fireworks displays. Attempting to figure out whether this year’s fireworks was better than last year’s is like trying to figure out which sunset this week was the prettiest. If you need to judge, just claim, “Wow, that was the best one yet,” and let it go at that.
    Contact Gary Brown at gary.brown@cantonrep.com.

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