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34th Annual Great Bonac Fireworks Show Blasting Off Soon

Lindsay Andarakis

This year marks the 33rd year in a row that the Grucci family will provide the impressive fireworks program. (Photo: Tom Fitzgerald and Pam Deutchman /www.society-in-focus.com)

The Clamshell Foundation is hosting the 34th Annual Great Bonac Fireworks Show on Saturday, July 19, 2014 with a rain date of Sunday, July 20, 2014. The show will take place overlooking Three Mile Harbor, in East Hampton. The fireworks are set to go off at about 9:20 p.m. and all of the proceeds from the event benefit several different local charities. This event is entirely funded by corporate sponsorship and public contributions.

For the past three decades, the vibrant fireworks show has been staged in the middle of the summer season for the residents and visitors of East Hampton. The tradition almost came to a halt, but in 2009, The Clamshell Foundation, based in East Hampton, began to revive the popular event.

Founded in 1992, The Clamshell Foundation is a non-profit organization that donates all of its fundraising profits to programs and projects for the Town of East Hampton. These donations have included, The East Hampton Dory Rescue Squad, Toys for Tots, the Red Cross, local food pantries, shellfish programs and they award annual environmental education scholarships to students that attend East Hampton High School.

Bonac usually refers to an area called Springs. Many of the original Bonac families in Springs were among the very early settlers of the town, and came from England (Kent Dorchester or Dorset) in the 1600's and 1700's. Bonackers made a living as baymen, fishermen and farmers. Clams, both hard shell and soft shell, and the practice of clamming was and still is at the heart of Bonac culture and cuisine.

There are some great viewing locations on the beaches at Maidstone Park and Sammy's Beach, off of Gann Road, any of the beaches off of Hands Creek Road, Springy Banks Road as well as the head of 3 Mile Harbor. Make sure to get there early so you can pick a prime viewing spot.

The annual fireworks display over Three Mile Harbor began in the early '70s when George Plimpton, the late writer, actor and founder of The Paris Review, began hosting firework parties at his summer residences in Sagaponack and Amagansett. Due to Mr. Plimpton's love for the city of Paris, the fireworks have since then, always been scheduled for the first Saturday after Bastille Day.

The 3 Mile Harbor Fireworks soon became an event for public viewing, and in 1980, Mr. Plimpton partnered with Tony Duke and Felix Grucci Sr. to have the fireworks benefit the camp, Boys and Girls Harbor. Tony Duke founded boys and Girls Harbor in 1937 with the mission to encourage children and their families to become full, prolific participants in society through education, cultural awareness and social services. When it was no longer possible to continue the George Plimpton/Boy's and Girl's Harbor fireworks event, the future of the show was jeopardized.

This year marks the 34th year in a row that the Grucci family will provide the impressive fireworks program and will do so in the loving memory of Felix Sr., his wife Concetta their son, James Felix Grucci, and of course, the visionary founder of the event, George Plimpton.

Enjoy the show!

For more information, visit, clamshellfoundation.org.

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