Onset celebrates Independence Day with roaring bonfire

Jul 3, 2022

A blazing bonfire greeted folks who spent the evening on Shell Point Beach on Sunday, while others in the distance celebrated July 4th with their own private fireworks shows.

The bonfire was put on by the Onset Bay Association, and association executive director Kat Jones lit the woodpile. She cried out “Happy Fourth of July, everybody!” after setting the fire ablaze, drawing a roar of approval from the crowd.

Around a hundred people came out to watch the bonfire along the bay. As dusk settled, flares were lit along the shoreline, providing an illuminated walk from Onset Pier to the bonfire.

Though the official fireworks show in Onset was postponed from Independence Day to a reimagined Harvest Moon Festival later this year, some fireworks could be seen lighting up the sky from across the bay, apparently from private residences.

Onset Fire Department Captain Gene Crocker stood on the beach near fellow firefighters shortly before the bonfire began. He recounted watching bonfires that were held on the beach and in a nearby dirt area, where the parking lot now stands, back in the 1950’s and 1960’s when he was a kid.

He remembered one bonfire where an Onset Fire Department boat, “apparently in bad condition,” Crocker said, was placed on top of the woodpile for that year’s festivities.