Where to Watch the Fireworks this Year
by Charles Q. Drexler
- Fireworks are a special event -- thoughts, memories and musings on fireworks as a meditative practice.
- If you can't view this year's fireworks in person, you can view our awesome fireworks video @ bit.ly/2KUl5f1
- Tips and tricks for attending a live fireworks display.
Fireworks have been used to mark celebratory occasions for thousands of years, and there’s no sign that their appeal will diminish anytime soon. Love ’em or hate ’em, they are here to stay.
Personally, I love fireworks. Grand and elegant, a fireworks show is total sensory experience that is both timeless and transient. I suspect these pyrotechnic displays appeal to the small, central and primal parts of our evolutionary human brains. The colors, sounds and explosions can be by turns exciting, overwhelming, intoxicating, or uncomfortable, difficult to watch, even downright boring. When you are present for a live firework show, the experience forces you to pause. Or maybe, it should force you to pause. Have you ever tried to carry a meaningful conversation during a fireworks display? Or leave the fireworks show early? I’m sure I’ve done both in my life, and never to good result.
This year, when you are watching the fireworks, I encourage you to stop and consider: this is it. This is all that is happening at this moment. And it is all that needs to happen at this moment. The fireworks show will be over soon, and if you don’t stop and watch -- really take it in, for all it’s worth -- you will miss it, and that experience will be gone forever.
The truth is, most of us think we are important -- we live busy lives and we think we are the center of life’s activity. Certainly this attitude can be useful, even necessary to get us through the day. But ultimately, greater forces work upon our lives. Wars do this. Big political events do this.
So too, I think, fireworks can do this. Sometimes the best we can do is simply stop and take it all in. A good fireworks show can help us remember that in the grand scheme of things, I am only one person, more or less the same as anyone else. Time passes for me as it does everyone else. There are times of activity and times of quiet. There are times of harmony and times of discord. All I have is the present.
I didn’t always and automatically love fireworks. There are many years I missed the experience, by accident or by choice, and I almost always regretted it. I’d hear the fireworks going off in the distance, and I’d think, I could be there, I could be witnessing this, I could be present and not here, absent, alone, etc. With time and experience, I have come to understand that life is about trade-offs, and you can’t always be there every time. But you can make an effort, and you can still enjoy moments to pause and take it all in. You must do this for yourself. No one can give it to you.
If you are unable to attend a live fireworks display this Independence Day holiday, Absolute WIN offers an original video (@ bit.ly/2KUl5f1 ) that evokes the experience of a real fireworks display to inspire and entertain. Of course, it’s not the same as the real thing, but in some ways it’s better -- you can choose where to watch, turn the volume up or down, pause to go bathroom, watch it again! Like a Yule Log video at Christmas, this video has no speaker commentary or arbitrary cutting -- it’s just a simple, one-camera setup that makes great background holiday content. Turn it up and dance!
Also, our Fourth of July fireworks video is fun to watch with your kids -- my 3.5-yr old daughter and I turn it up loud on the TV streamer box for big screen video display and an air-conditioned fireworks dance party. Note: this video plays best in 4K on supported devices.
If you are planning to attend the fireworks in person, here are a few tips from a well-seasoned amateur:
- To find the best spot -- ask people in your neighborhood, at work, at the store… Locations usually repeat year after year, and the best source for information is the local population. If you ask around enough, you’ll get the information you need. You can also search online, watch local TV, etc.
- BRING SPARKLERS. Kids love sparklers. Adults love sparklers. Light one up and write your name in the air. Make sure this happens under the supervision of a responsible adult, and in compliance with local laws. Children should never play with fireworks without a parent or supervisor.
- Plan your outing in advance. Be prepared for walking and standing on your feet. Consider bringing food and water. When I was a kid we always brought a sweatshirt, no matter what the temperature. Okay, you get the point: plan ahead.
- Bring a cushion or blanket to sit on!
- If you have kids with you, be ready to bolt if necessary. Don’t get into the center of a huge crowd of people -- even if your child has “seen fireworks before and will be okay.” Come on, you’re a parent or responsible caregiver -- make sure you’re setting your kid up to have a good time.
- Earplugs - if the fireworks are too loud, try earplugs. Can’t sleep? Try earplugs. Can’t stop arguing with your parent or partner? Try earplugs. Earplugs for all. Do not put them in your butt! (That’s gross.)
Happy 4th! Enjoy!
article published: 04 Jul 2019