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Freeport lights up the night

L.I. Arts Council at Freeport kicks off concert series at fireworks show

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Despite a downpour, there were many faithful onlookers. Freeporters sought shelter under the Woodcleft Scenic Pier gazebo at the end of the Nautical Mile to watch the Fourth of July fireworks on July 11. Initially, the celebration was scheduled for July 6, but because of anticipated thunderstorms, the show was postponed.

“It looks really artsy,” said Lois Howes, president of the Long Island Arts Council at Freeport, as she watched the July 11 show from her car. The rain, she said, gave the fireworks a “hazy but pretty look.”

Sponsored by the Village of Freeport and the Freeport Chamber of Commerce, the Independence Day celebration is traditionally held a couple of days after the Fourth of July.

This year, restaurants and bars offered dinner specials and live music throughout the evening, leading up to the 9 p.m. fireworks. Ocean Avenue resident Matthew Yatsyla, gripping an umbrella, strolled to the pier to join a group of about 20 people who either shared umbrellas with friends or stood under the shelter.

“It’s just rain,” Freeporter Matthew Yatsyla said. “It’s just uncomfortable, at worst.”

Howes drove to Sea Breeze Park, where she parked in the vacant parking lot across the street from the dockside Shell gas station on Woodcleft Avenue. She wasn’t the only one in her car. After dinner, several families and friends piled into cars in the lot to watch the fireworks.

Freeporter Barbara Lobosco also seemed pleased with the rainy fireworks show. “The Village of Freeport delivered an excellent show, despite the weather conditions,” she said. “So funny, [it’s the] same weather as the [December] boat parade, except warmer.”

The rescheduled fireworks show landed on the same evening as the kickoff for the summer concert series hosted by the Long Island Arts Council at Freeport. Because of the rain, the Arts Council held the concert, featuring Turnpike Joe and Traffic Jam, at BrewSA.

While Turnpike Joe played classic rock, attendees were seen playing games like “Cards Against Humanity.” Other attendees, like Centereach native Rocco Famiglietti and his friend Sunny Kim, from Astoria, opted to eat pizza and play a fierce game of connect four chips on the Super 4 In Line jumbo board.

Bellmore couple Chris and Doug Robinson took front-row seats to hear the band. According to Chris, catching the Arts Council summer concerts was something they have planned since they first heard about it last summer but missed out. This year, Chris said was going to be different. The couple, according to Chris, had already highlighted a number of the concerts they plan to attend.

“We go where the music goes,” she said with a laugh, as her husband bopped to the music. “Next week is going to be a real treat to see Banjo Rascals.”

The summer concerts are usually held at the Esplanade on Woodcleft Avenue. This summer, the Arts Council will feature The Welldiggers, a band known for its Americana music, and Donnell Williams and Company, a well-known Long Island gospel group. An annual performance that many Freeport parents look forward to is Broadway and You, which features the singing and acting of local children who have been rehearsing at the Freeport Recreation Center.

Throughout the evening, a handful of people grabbed a table at BrewSA or sat at the bar to enjoy the concert. Longtime friends Courtney Biede, visiting from Boston, and Corinne Hughes, from Monroe, N.Y., met at the Arts Council concert to catch up and hang out with friends. The concert was a fortunate accident and a nice surprise, they said.

“I got to hang out with friends for a bit before having to go back to Boston,” Biede said. “It’s been a fun night, despite the rain.”