Fireworks: a family affair
Some come to watch, while others work at the Greenfield event
GREENFIELD, MA (July 6, 2013) Fireworks at Beacon Field. Photo by Beth Reynolds
The Giguere and Reed families staked out their spot behind the Beacon Field playground early Saturday afternoon to get a good view of the annual fireworks display. The families have been coming to the event together for five years since Kelly (Reed) Giguere, left, married Alex Giguere, who joined them later on.
GREENFIELD — The town’s annual Fourth of July celebration and fireworks were quite the draw as usual, with some showing up before the afternoon festivities even began.
“When’s the music start?” asked Roland Giguere, a Shelburne resident, from the shade of the tent his family shared with the Reeds.
The two families have been coming to the fireworks together for five years, since his son, Alex Giguere, married Kelly (Reed) Giguere. The Gigueres themselves have been coming for nearly 30 years and used to sit by second base on the field’s baseball diamond.
For one member of their family, the tradition is brand new.
“This is Grace’s first time at the fireworks,” said Kelly Giguere. “She’s 14 weeks old.”
She wasn’t nervous that the newborn would be startled by the explosions above. Sister Lillian, 5, wasn’t phased at her first fireworks when she was about 3 months old.
The Reeds and Gigueres showed up early, and set up a large canopy tent, folding chairs, blankets and coolers, from which they could watch the coming show in comfort.
One family showed up hours before them, but they were there to work, not play.
“We got here at about 1:30, as soon as they’d let us in,” said Travis Reade of Colrain. He and his mother, Judy Maloney, teamed up with family friend Larry Longley to serve ice cream from the Scoop Shack.
They’ve been manning the trailer-top ice cream stand for three years, and the annual event is one of their regular stops.
Though Maloney expected to sell about 500 ice cream cones, she wasn’t so sure their first year.
“We had been here for two hours, and nobody was coming,” she said. “I started to get worried. Then, we had a mad rush.”
The three found out that people don’t start craving a frozen treat until they’ve had something else to eat. But when they come, they come in droves.
“We’ll have two or three lines going, and they’ll be about 10 deep at times,” said Reade. He said the crowd comes in waves, with the biggest rushes in the midday sun and again right before the fireworks start and all the eateries shut their lights off.
“People start to realize they’ll be sitting still for a half hour, and they want something to eat,” he explained.
Between the rushes, said Reade, he’ll often barter with nearby vendors, trading ice cream for pulled pork sandwiches or other meal-worthy foods.
Though they sell plenty of Maine-made Gifford’s ice cream, frozen novelties and organic lemonade at the fireworks, they do their best business at a popular end-of-summer event.
“We’ve sold out entirely at the Heath Fair,” said Maloney. The Scoop Shack brings about 22 3-gallon tubs of ice cream to each event. They come in the classics, vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, as well as the more adventurous “campfire s’mores” and Maine deer tracks.
Though ice cream cools the consumer, things can get pretty hot in the Scoop Shack. Their two big freezers and fridge work hard inside the little trailer, dumping lots of heat through their condensers’ coils.
“We have to keep the fans going all the time,” said Reade. “And the freezers can get warm since you’re always opening the doors.”
It’s been a learning process, they agreed, but they seem to be getting the hang of it. And, when the lights go off and the show starts, they’ve got time to watch — if they choose. Usually, said Maloney, she’ll start cleaning up, while her son goes out to watch the fireworks.
David Rainville can be reached at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279