Record-setting crowds arrived in Falmouth for the Fourth of July weekend.
“It was a busy weekend,” said Maura Aldrich, vice president of the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce. “The [Falmouth Public Library] book sale, the Fourth of July being on a Thursday and the beautiful weather were all contributing factors toward record numbers.”
The chamber itself was busy, with 100 people visiting its Academy Lane building on Friday, July 5, and 73 people visiting on Saturday, July 6.
Business was booming at local restaurants. Seafood Sam’s owner Michael P. Lewis said Friday was its busiest day on record.
“I have owned this restaurant for 30 years,” Mr. Lewis said. “The busiest day I’ve ever had was in 2013—until Friday. I beat my 2013 record by a lot, almost 30 percent.”
Between sit-in, takeout and online orders, Seafood Sam’s prepared just shy of 2,000 meals on Friday.
“On a typical Friday, I do half that,” Mr. Lewis said. “Last Friday was a whole different world. It was incredible.”
Seafood Sam’s was not the only restaurant setting records.
“We had a great weekend, with a great Friday and a great Saturday,” said James Estes, owner of the Landfall Restaurant in Woods Hole. “Between lunch and dinner, we broke any record we had before on both days.”
Mr. Estes said the crowds extended beyond the restaurant.
“The weather was great,” he said. “It brought people out, and Woods Hole was quite busy. Woods Hole did an awesome job moving all the people around and handling all those visitors. It was a lot of fun.”
Both Seafood Sam’s and the Landfall were busier on Friday than Saturday. For Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub, the opposite was true.
“Friday was busy, but Saturday was even busier,” owner Deborah Maguire said. “We were thrilled with Friday’s numbers and dumbfounded by Saturday’s numbers.”
Ms. Maguire said with the exception of select St. Patrick’s Days, Saturday was the busiest day in the restaurant’s history.
“In 25 years, it was the biggest weekend we ever had,” she said. “It was like St. Patrick’s Day, nonstop.”
The large crowds present a major challenge, Town Manager Julian M. Suso said.
“Our town infrastructure is designed to accommodate 32,000 year-round residents,” Mr. Suso said. “When we have over 100,000 people in town, they are all using those resources. It presents a daunting challenge.”
This was particularly true on the Fourth of July, when there were celebratory events all around town, including the Fourth of July fireworks in the evening.
“Given that, I want to thank and praise the police and fire departments, public works and the beach staff for the way they responded to the extraordinary demand for services on the Fourth of July,” Mr. Suso said.
Beach Superintendent Bruce G. Mogardo said the beaches were full all weekend long.
“When I came over the hills at the Heights on the 4th, I couldn’t see any sand,” Mr. Mogardo said. “I could only see tents and umbrellas.”
Crowds remained on the beaches into the evening for the annual Fourth of July fireworks display.
“There was no room on any of the beaches from what I could see,” Falmouth Fireworks Committee member Arthur R. Ratsy said. “The crowds were some of the largest we’ve ever seen. It was obviously wall-to-wall. The ball field was completely filled.”
These crowds extended into the ocean, he said. Many watched the fireworks from boats, although they were not allowed within 500 feet of the barge.
“From that point on, it was boat after boat after boat,” Mr. Ratsy said. “Because it was a calm night, there were a lot of boats out watching around the barge.”
Beachgoing crowds continued throughout the weekend. Mr. Mogardo said the beaches were busier this year than last year. This was reflected at the beach parking lots.
“All parking lots were full by 10:30 AM,” Mr. Mogardo said. “Some were full by 9 AM. The Old Silver resident side was full at 8:20 AM. It opened at 8 AM, so it was full within 20 minutes. That was the case on the 4th, that was the case on the 5th and that was the case on the 6th.”
Crowds were also at Falmouth’s only freshwater beach at Grews Pond in Goodwill Park. Additional police officers and beach attendants were assigned to Goodwill Park on Saturday morning, due to the large crowds. Access to the park was limited, as the parking area reached full capacity.
The larger crowds meant a larger police presence throughout the town. As in past years, all available officers were on duty on the Fourth of July. In addition, extra officers were assigned to each shift throughout the weekend, Lieutenant Douglas M. DeCosta said.
“While the heavy traffic and crowded beaches appeared to be greater than in years past, the number of incidents requiring police response remained roughly the same,” Lt. DeCosta said.
During the four-day Fourth of July weekend, Falmouth police responded to 365 calls, an average of 91 per day. That included 21 fireworks complaints.
The number of arrests more than doubled this year, going from four arrests in 2018 to 10 this year.
“Half of those were at the fireworks display,” Lt. DeCosta, noting five teenagers were arrested after causing a disturbance at the Falmouth Heights ball field.