Due to the pandemic, Falmouth will be without an organized fireworks show this summer for the second year in a row. And while that may be disappointing for locals and visitors alike who consider the show one of their treasured summer events, the cancellation is disappointing most of all for the Falmouth Fireworks Committee, a group that works 12 months a year planning and fundraising to bring the event to fruition. As we’ve seen over and over in the past 15 months, flexibility, resilience and creativity are all attributes to be embraced, both by individuals and organizations. One need only to extrapolate on the realization by Dr. Seuss’s Grinch that while Christmas doesn’t come from a store, neither is a patriotic celebration of our nation’s independence solely dependent on a fireworks display. New this year, the Falmouth Fireworks Committee will sponsor the first annual 4th of July Home and Business Decorating Contest as a way for individuals and businesses to show their patriotism in a way that’s fun and festive. The committee is also celebrating 40 years of fireworks displays with the release of the book, “A Patriotic Tribute: Falmouth Fireworks Celebrating 40 Years,” a compendium of commemorative T-shirt designs created by Karen Rinaldo of Falmouth along with relevant history, poetry and song. The book is available in Falmouth at Ace Hardware, Cape Cod 5, Cape Cod Bagel, Celebrations, Coffee Obsession in Falmouth and Woods Hole, Eight Cousins Books, the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce, The Gallery on Main, Kenyon’s Market, Moonakis Restaurant, New Wave Printing and Uncle Bill’s Country Store. The book has a lot of information in it,” said Carolyn Woods, chairwoman of the fireworks committee, referring not only to the history in the book but also to the written contributions from the likes of Julian Suso, Falmouth’s town manager; Michael Kasparian, president of the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce; Stephen Pelkey, CEO and artistic director of Atlas PyroVision Entertainment; and others. “It’s a great coffee table book for visitors and locals.” Arthur Ratsy, one of the founding members of the committee, expressed his gratitude to Ms. Rinaldo for her work on the book, saying that Ms. Rinaldo did the lion’s share of the work while the rest of the committee “was behind her 100 percent.” “It was exciting to reflect on the past 40 years’ worth of fireworks displays and the different T-shirt designs,” Mr. Ratsy said, adding, “So many of them commemorated an event that was happening at the time.” Mr. Ratsy hopes that the book will appeal to families and especially to children, who will have it “to look back on.” Ms. Rinaldo explained that during the committee’s quest to fundraise for the fireworks, it was often asked by local businesses and others in the community about the feasibility of compiling all the fireworks designs into a book. With the fireworks celebrating its 40th year in 2020, the timing seemed opportune. “The committee thought about it and early in 2020 decided they would put this book together. The book was inspired by the community,” Ms. Rinaldo said, “they asked for it.” At 75 pages, the book is a compilation of 30 years’ worth of T-shirt designs and a celebration of 40 years of fireworks, but it’s also, Ms. Rinaldo said, “about patriotism.” Doubling as a songbook, the book contains lyrics for some of the songs most often associated with the Fourth of July: “America The Beautiful,” “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” “You’re A Grand Old Flag,” “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America.” The book also includes other poems by Katharine Lee Bates, notably “The Falmouth Bell,” which starts with the observation, “Never was there a lovelier town/Than our Falmouth by the sea.” Best known for her historical paintings and recognizable local landscapes, Ms. Rinaldo got involved with the fireworks committee 30 years ago, when she was asked to help with graphics and T-shirt designs. Since then Ms. Rinaldo has created T-shirt designs that, because they all celebrate the same event, contain similar components but are also individualistic. It’s apparent in the artwork and in Ms. Rinaldo’s descriptions in the book that she spends considerable time researching and thinking about each design. Methodical in all her work, Ms. Rinaldo’s effort on the book was no exception. “Research is by its very nature intense and time-consuming,” she said. “Sometimes it would take days to write one paragraph after finding just the information I was looking for and condensing it down and fitting it to the image. Falmouth has a rich history and so I borrowed some information from maps, the ‘Book Of Falmouth,’ other sources from our libraries and online, and from conversations with people in town.” When working out her yearly T-shirt deign, Ms. Rinaldo said, she starts with a theme, perhaps an anniversary or something celebratory. “It becomes a history lesson in a visual format,” she said. “Visuals are probably the most effective way of getting a message across and creating an educational component.” Salutes to the military are often a theme for Ms. Rinaldo. A soldier in full salute is depicted in silhouette alongside Nobska Light in the 2019 design. In 2007 Ms. Rinaldo’s design illustrates the emblems for the five branches of military service. “Each emblem tells its own story of sacrifice and service,” Ms. Rinaldo writes. “I am very patient when it comes to drawing and designing. This one was a challenge.” In 2001 Ms. Rinaldo’s design paid homage to the Falmouth Town Band with a drawing of the harbor bandshell decorated with flags and balloons. In 2009 she depicted Memorial Lane, which leads from Main Street to the front door of the Falmouth Public Library. Falmouth military personnel who were killed in action are memorialized along the walkway. The fireworks’ barge is almost always depicted in the design, likely an homage to Atlas PyroVision, the company that has produced the fireworks show in Falmouth for more than 30 years. In 1997 Ms. Rinaldo celebrated the gothic architecture of homes in Falmouth Heights with bold outlines of homes in the neighborhood of Observatory Hill. Falmouth’s iconic Island Queen can be seen in many of the designs, along with the Clam Shack and the old Casino and the Brothers Four. Ms. Rinado uses different perspectives of the harbor in her many designs. In the 2004 design she shows the hill leading up to the top of Grand Avenue and the view over Vineyard Sound—a view that, while inspiring, has likely been cursed by many a Falmouth Road Race participant struggling to make it to the top. Occasionally Ms. Rinaldo takes an offshore approach, a view that looks back at the Heights from the water, as she did in 2005 in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the fireworks. Nobska Light plays into many of Ms. Rinaldo’s designs. “As a beacon, it sheds a spirit,” Ms. Rinado wrote about the lighthouse, which is prominently featured in 2016, the year the Friends of Nobska Light were awarded responsibility for the upkeep of the historic building. In addition to lending her artistic talents to the Falmouth Fireworks Committee and subsequently to the book, Ms. Rinaldo lends her literary abilities in the writing of “Prayer of First Responders” and “A Soldier.” Ms. Rinaldo composed the poems as an effort to go “right to the heart of who we are as Americans.” Several pages contain sketches by Ms. Rinaldo of T-shirt designs in beginning stages. “This will give you a look inside my thoughts as I shift and image, rearrange a section and incorporate a message appropriate to the theme,” she writes. The book also contains town history and lesser-known facts about Falmouth. “Falmouth has been named one of the 10 best fireworks displays in the country,” Ms. Rinaldo said, adding that success is “all about the details. When that last shell gets fired on July 4, we start immediately working on the details for next year’s show. We have a loyal group of people who are involved in the committee. I’m proud to be a part of it.” In addition to input from the committee, Ms. Rinaldo said that help from New Wave Printing in Falmouth was also invaluable to getting the project done: “The committee trusted me with a lot of the mechanics and in turn I put my trust in New Wave Printing to carry that forth. It’s really a great collaboration.” The book retails at $25. “We hope it’s something that people will come to the village and purchase to have in their homes,” Ms. Rinaldo said. “Perhaps they will also buy copies to share with friends in distant places. It’s something to celebrate Falmouth.” Ms. Rinaldo hopes that the book will be an inspiration and something to share with family, noting, “Hopefully it will open up subjects for conversation.” In addition to the sale of the commemorative book and the decorating contest, the fireworks committee will, for the second year, sponsor the airing of a fireworks show on Falmouth Community Television on July 4 at 9 PM. The show will be a rebroadcast of previous Falmouth fireworks displays from the television station’s archives, as well as other shows put on by Atlas PyroVision.

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