The crowds began bright and early in the town of Colonial Beach on the Fourth of July. Shade structures, umbrellas, and beach chairs started to dot the landscape as early as 6 a.m. with the beach starting to crowd by 9:30 in the morning.
As the midday sun beat down on the numerous visitors to the town, parking began to disappear. Police officers from Colonial Beach began directing traffic onto the town hill early as the waterfront lots were already full as well as the entirety of the beach front parking. Directly beside the pier was blocked off in order that emergency services could be in place for the fireworks display.
Various town properties were manned by volunteers from the Chamber of Commerce including Mayor Eddie Blunt. Charging for parking on those lots helps support various other events throughout the year.
Visitors from all over the tri-state area as well as many out of country tourists dotted the beach. At least five different languages beside English were heard as the melting pot of America was represented along the shores of the Potomac River.
The town of Colonial Beach has been working to revitalize the downtown area to bring in more tourists. One of the grants, Community Development Block Grant, for $747,000 has gone to blocking in a controversial pedestrian plaza, upgraded parts of the boardwalk, particularly near the tourist center and beside what is referred to as the “white building” as those areas were dangerous.
New furniture, lamps, and fixtures as well as the burying of utility lines add to the better look of the area. Another grant from the Virginia Department of Transportation will turn the end of Colonial Avenue, next to the boardwalk, into a pedestrian plaza with a splash park as well.
The Colonial Beach Police Department along with Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Department staged from the Town Center to keep the peace along the waterfront of the town. As the day wore on officers took to the street on bicycles, feet, and cars to police the town.
Employees of Public Works were everywhere emptying trash, refilling toilet paper, and working the holiday to try and keep up with the crowds. An almost impossible task when the beach is as crowded as it was.
Right after dark the fireworks from the town pier began. Colonial Beach is touted as having one of the best firework shows in the area and very often the only one on the actual Fourth of July. The display took to the sky over the numerous boats that flock to the area to watch.
Some of the display was new including fireworks called “lilypads” that stretched across the water allowing for a bigger, brighter shot of pinks, blues and greens shot up along the waterfront to the oohs and ahhs of the small children.