It lasted about 20 minutes, and it left the crowds dazzled. The Cape Cod Canal Centennial Celebration fireworks display had its audience of well over 100,000 people gathered along the shores of the Cape Cod Canal oohing and aahing in delight Tuesday night. The show featured fireworks set off from two barges situated in Buzzards Bay near Massachusetts Maritime Academy, as well as pyrotechnics shot from atop Bourne’s railroad bridge.
“That’s awesome,” one spectator said as flares flew from the train bridge 100 feet or more out over the water.
Deborah A. Gleason of Waquoit called the centennial celebration fireworks show “the best I’ve ever seen.”
“They were different than anything I’ve seen. Each one was incredible. They almost looked like Techno Color, very 2000ish,” she said.
Ms. Gleason said that she watched from a friend’s house in Pocasset that had a clear view of the show. She said that people at the house often gather there for fireworks shows, such as on the Fourth of July, and “everyone said they were the best, incredible.”
Patricia A. Soma of Falmouth agreed. Ms. Soma said that she goes to the Fourth of July fireworks in Falmouth every year and thought that this year’s display was the best ever.
“I thought they were great, until I saw these,” she said of Tuesday’s display.
“They were fantastic. The only thing missing was music,” she said.
Earlier in the day, crowds started to filter into Buzzards Bay Park as early as 7:30 AM. It was roughly 2 PM when Paul J. St. Don of Marion arrived with his family at the park for the fireworks display. The group positioned its chairs close to where the highlight of the show, fireworks off the railroad bridge, was to take place. The show, however, would not begin for another seven hours. Mr. St. Don said that he and his wife and sister kept themselves entertained with a time-honored pastime.
“People watching. A lot of people watching,” he said.
He said that they also tried to get some supper, but that was “a big mistake.”
“Everybody’s running out of food!” he said.
That included Eastwind Lobster near the Cohasset Narrows Bridge, where the line was 40 people deep, he said.
“They were out of chowder; that was the only thing I went there for,” he said, adding that he opted instead for the lobster bisque.
Up and down Main Street Tuesday night, restaurants and stores were overflowing with customers. By 7 PM, Jake’s Pizza, which is directly opposite Buzzards Bay Park, was sold out of food.
“No more food,” a door attendant told anyone approaching the store.
“We ordered two hours ago,” one young lady said ignoring him and walking in.
Next door at Canal Creamery, a line of customers stretched from inside the store and down to the intersection of Main Street and Academy Drive. The parking lot at Antique Affair was taken over by Kevin’s Kitchen, a food wagon selling an assortment of food items. The line of customers ran from the wagon, across the parking lot and down the length of the building.
Hungry patrons jammed the Cumberland Farms on Main Street, waiting in a line that snaked through store aisles for up to half an hour to pay for their items.
Young and old alike packed Buzzards Bay Park, hours ahead of the start of the fireworks display. Musical acts kept people entertained and vendors hawked light-up necklaces and plastic swords. Cameras were everywhere as photographers of every caliber sought to capture the pyrotechnic display highlighting the once-in-a-lifetime celebration. The historic aspect of the event, the 100th anniversary of the canal, is what many people said made them brave the excessive traffic and the multitudes of people.
“Well, I won’t be around for the second time. I won’t make the second hundred,” John J. Adams of East Dennis said.
“We care about the Cape, we care about the canal, and it’s a celebration,” his wife, Alice M. Adams, said of their desire to attend the show.
A relatively quick half-hour ride from Dennis, dinner at the Mezza Luna Restaurant and arrival by the railroad bridge mere minutes from the start of the show made the Adams’s experience different from that of the St. Dons.
Asked if there was anything in particular he was looking forward to in Tuesday night’s display, Mr. Adams kept it simple.
“Big booms. Doesn’t matter as long as it’s big booms,” he said.
Residents from Falmouth and Sandwich reported hearing the fireworks from their homes.
Loud explosions were not what brought Mary B. Mumford all the way from Chatham to Tuesday night’s show. Ms. Mumford readily admitted that she hates fireworks and hoped the explosions would not be too loud.
“These are supposed to be spectacular so I’ll live through it,” she said.
The real reason she attended along with her friend Judy D. Tierney of Harwich was the historic significance of the day and the event, she said.
“Because it’s the 100th anniversary… it’s kind of historic. That’s the reason we’re here,” she said.