UPDATE Sunday 4:30 p.m. — Though some thunderstorms are predicted for the area this afternoon, weather is expected to clear by 6 p.m., the Darien fireworks will go on as scheduled Sunday night.
Downtown developer David Genovese, one of the event’s organizers, said all is ready for the gates to open at 6 and any storms might cool off the mid-90′s heat and humidity that’s continued most of the day.
Friday 10 a.m. — Whether it be Selectman Dave Campbell’s iPod, the Darien Fireworks Band, or the show’s appropriately “popping” soundtrack, the town’s Fourth of July celebration this Sunday will be a feast for the ears, as well as the eyes.
And thanks to the participating vendors, an actual feast for the mouth, too.
The gates open Sunday, July 1 at 6 p.m. Like last year, Campbell intends to blast his “fireworks” mix through the Darien High School campus speakers to get attendees in the mood to celebrate.
The Darien Fireworks Band will be playing at 7:45 p.m., giving a 30-45 minute concert of patriotic and American favorites right before the fireworks.
Music selections will include “Colonel Bogey March,” “Ashokan Farewell,” “God Bless America” and “Stars & Stripes Forever,” among others.
Jane Minnis, the high school’s orchestra conductor, is directing the Darien Fireworks Band, a new addition to the town’s celebration.
“The band has 18 members, aged 14 to adult,” Minnis told The Darien Times.
“Many of the adult members are returning to their instruments after many years away from them. It’s wonderful to see the joy they are getting from playing the instrument they loved as a youth,” she said.
At 8:30, there will be a formal retiring of the flag by the town’s fire department color guard.
The fireworks will begin at 8:45 p.m., kicked off by “Got a Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas.
The soundtrack will be almost identical to last year, according to Matt Shea of Atlas Pyrotechnics, the New Hampshire-based company running the show, with a “few surprises” thrown in.
Songs to accompany the fireworks include:
• “America” from West Side Story (performed by the Rochester Pops)
• “God Bless America” performed by Celine Dion
• “O’ America” performed by Celtic Woman (during 9/11 tribute)
• An armed forces salute by the Orlando Symphony
• “The 5th” by David Garrett’s Rock Symphony
• “Firework” by Katy Perry
• “William Tell Overture” performed by the Cincinnati Pops
The fireworks’ rain date is Tuesday, July 3, but currently, Sunday’s forecast is sunny with a minimal chance of rain.
All proceeds go to the Town of Darien Firefighters’ Foundation, which is helping to organize the event. There is no admission fee but the organizers are encourging you to make a donation to the foundation. If you write a check, it is tax deductible.
Lead sponsor Darien Sport Shop is joined by other sponsors PG Properties, Baywater Properties, Ring’s End, William Pitt Sotheby’s, Nielsen’s Florist, Merrill Lynch Darien, Orchard Tree Care, Dolcetti, Inc., Brown Thayer Shedd, MacGuire, Cheswick & Tuttle, Carta, McAlister & Moore, First County Bank, and Palmer’s Market.
The Darien Times is media sponsor. This edition contains a special pull-out guide to the event and there is a mobile site with parking, the musical soundtrack, schedules, and many other types of information for attendees at hersam.mobi/dt-fireworks/times.html
Palmer’s Market is also creating picnic baskets for the event, which also will donate a percentage of the proceeds to the Town of Darien Firefighters’ Foundation, which supports all three volunteer departments here.
Thursday, June 28, is the last day to pre-order picnic baskets, and baskets can be picked up from 10-7 on Sunday, July 1.
Vendors include Chunky Pam’s Sweet Shoppe, Gofer Ice Cream, Uncle’s Deli, Estia’s American, Burgers, Shakes & Fries, and iTownstore.com.
T-shirts designed by contest winners Abby St. Jean, a third grader at Royle School, and Emma Seely, a sixth grader at Middlesex Middle School, are being sold by iTownstore, with proceeds donated to the foundation.
Last year was the first time in almost a decade that the town fireworks tradition returned to Darien after previous attempts to hold at the new high school were unsuccessful.
But thanks to the prodding of Darien businessman David Genovese and group of Darienites, and cooperation with the town, Campbell, who was first selectman at the time, and the Board of Education, the once annual Fourth of July fireworks show returned in 2011.
The $50,000 cost of the event has been raised by sponsors and the organizers hope the event is even better a turnout this year.
In a letter to The Darien Times this week, Genovese urged all attendees to consider making a donation to the Darien Firefighters’ Foundation.
“With good weather, this will be a great evening of entertainment for our families and friends, and with your support, the Town of Darien Firefighters Foundation will be able to continue to help hosting the event at no cost to the town,” he wrote.
Genovese said those interested can either bring a tax deductible check to the event made out to the Town of Darien Firefighters’ Foundation, or visit darienfirefighter.org and make a donation online.