Tag Archives: Rockport Bonfire

The Greatest Natural Spectacle on Earth was in Rockport Last Night

I’ve lived in Gloucester since the early 1980s (except 1995-1998, when I lived in CA and NYC) and Vickie has lived here since 1998 … and guess what, neither of us had ever been to the Rockport Bonfire?  Why?  Oh, lots of reasons; but none of them is reasonable — not after what we witnessed last night!

Kevin St. Peter, who chairs the Rockport Firemen’s Association, asked us to be judges in the Rockport Firemen’s Parade and we accepted. Having produced and promoted hundreds of shows & events, Vickie and I keenly appreciate just how much work it takes to pull off an event of this magnitude and, honestly, it was a true pleasure not having to deal with all the details. Kevin did that. And he dealt with all the crazy-last-minute emergencies that always pop during any large-scale event. Plus he took great care to make sure all the judges got where we were supposed to go and knew what they were supposed to do — because we had no idea.

More importantly, we had absolutely no idea what we’ve been missing all these decades.  The breathtaking power and splendor of Rockport’s giant bonfire tore its way into our psyches; seized every ounce of our attention. What struck me at first was how hot it was — those of us in front had to move back as the flames engulfed the outhouse atop the mountain of fiery palates.  Turning around I noticed the crowd of several thousand people all stood transfixed — and very quiet.  So quiet, in fact, that the blaze was the loudest sound you could hear — and it wasn’t nearly as loud as the band at the bandstand had been a few minutes earlier.

Then I realized just how bright it was. That’s when I took the picture, above. Notice how well everyone is lit — and it’s pitch black outside. No streetlights. Just the bonfire. It’s brighter than Times Square. (See Nicole’s awesome photo of the bonfire itself here.)

Fire has a magical power to captivate us in a way nothing else can. I certainly hope this Rockport tradition lives on forever. Thanks to Kevin St. Peter for throwing a giant party for thousands of people featuring one of the greatest natural spectacles our Earth has to offer — and making it feel as though everything is running perfectly smoothly!

Rockport Bonfire Aftermath

In 2011 Les Bartlett posted a photo on his website of dawn on July 5, 2011 and I have been fascinated ever since about what the bonfire is doing the day after. Click here for his shot and links to Les’s website.

This year it was as hot as ever. You could have roasted a Seaview Farm Grass fed Steer on these coals.

This year it was as hot as ever. You could have roasted a Seaview Farm Grass fed Steer on these coals.

So immature.

So immature.

There were 24 boats moored in Sandy Bay this year up from 4 last year when I took this photo.

There were 24 boats moored in Sandy Bay this year up from 4 last year when I took this photo.

Rockport Stuff: A Reunion for Locals, Parade & Bonfire, CHEESE at the Farmers Market!

The Rockport Fireman’s Parade begins at 6pm on the 4th of July!


Friday, July 4th: Parade & Bonfire Look for the Rockport Farmers Market float at the parade, and be sure to stay for the bonfire on Back Beach! (Affectionately known as the Rockport Inferno — a can’t-miss event if you’ve never seen it before.)


Saturday, July 5th: Rockport Reunion Reconnect with old friends and people you grew up with at a fun event with great food, games, beer, Twin Lights soda and more organized by a whole bunch of Rockport-loving locals. The organizers still need volunteers to help. For tickets and more information, click HERE.

*Saturday, July 5th: Rockport Farmers Market!* New this week: small-batch cheeses from a Vermont farm, jellies and relishes, plus cold-brewed tea, baked goods (whoopie pies, breads and much more), farm-raised beef, fudge sauce, fresh pesto, maple syrup, hummus, salsa and guacamole. And don’t forget the produce! Lots of produce will be on hand from First Light Farm, Vintage Greens, Seaview Farm and Grant Family Farm.


Rockport Bonfire: Before and After

Rubber Duck took her kids to the bonfire the day before:

And  Les Bartlett posted this unbelievable next morning shot on his website:Be sure to click through the photo to go to Les’s “Follow The Gleam” website and see the larger slideshow of the morning after the bonfire as well as his amazing series on granite and quarries. In the embers slideshow, third photo in, may be the elusive green flash. The heat from a bonfire might assist the presence of a green flash.

Try and line up the sun, the breakwater, the boat, the embers, oh, and cue perfect sunrise. It is shots like this that make you just roll over and go back to sleep and let someone who knows what they are doing take the shot.

By the way, has anyone seen Rubber Duck? Haven’t seen her since the bonfire. I hope she isn’t a little rubber puddle down at Back Beach.

Rockport 4th of July Bonfire TONIGHT!

Rubber Duck says, “Let’s light this puppy!”

6:00 p.m. – Rockport Firemen’s Parade

6:45PM UPDATE:  Thunderstorm deluge. Cats and dogs falling from sky.

7:05PM UPDATE NEXRAD radar shows a purple cell will arrive in Rockport by 7:45PM. Take the flags down.

7:45PM UPDATE NEXRAD radar, cell fell apart. All clear, maybe a sprinkle at 8PM but very short. Pour some gas on that wood.

8:30 p.m. – Rockport Legion Band Concert on Back Beach

9:00 p.m. – Rockport Bonfire on Back Beach

Rubber Duck Beauty Tip: If you want to easily rid yourself of unsightly arm hair just stand between the beach and the bonfire. Mine still hasn’t grown back since last year.