CAMDEN, Maine — It was a comeback year for Camden this July Fourth weekend.
In 2009 a malevolent bank of fog rolled into Camden Harbor just after crews had set up the rockets, too late to turn back and the show went on obscured.
“We were tearing our hair out because there was so much fog,” said organizer Dan Bookham of the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce.
But on Saturday evening, a crowd of about 1,000 people covered every patch of grass in nearby parks to watch the explosions.
As people wandered down paved pathways to find a good place to spread a blanket, musicians played “Sweet Caroline” and “Proud To Be an American” at a brightly lit bandstand.
Then, everything hushed. Most Main Street shops were closed by the 9:15 p.m. fireworks start time, creating a dark, clear sky.
Then it started. Blasts of light hit the Camden skies, and their booms echoed through the hills.
“That one’s huge! Whoa!” one child shouted as he jumped up and down.
Camden raised $12,000 in donations for the fireworks this year. To add to the magic, Bookham acquired fireworks that were shot into the water and then blasted white streams of light upward, accompanying the regular circular explosions in the sky.
The finale sounded like round after round of gunfire. Up to six fireworks occupied the sky simultaneously, one fading as another popped.
Elijah Stome, 6, of Warren said the fireworks were the best part. He liked “when they did them all at the same time.”
Sitting a few yards away down the Harbor Park hill was 16-year-old Morgan Cates of Camden. He thought the rockets were “pretty cool,” and he stuck around to listen to part of the concert afterward.
Karen Furlong, 56, of Hope was even farther down the hill, toward the bandstand where the Chicletts, three women in teal sequined dresses who bill themselves as “New York’s premier girl group,” swayed and sang songs including “The Shoop Shoop Song” and ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” after the fireworks faded.
Furlong said it was a toss-up for her between the fireworks and the music.
“I like that ‘Mamma Mia’ song, that’s for sure,” she said.
The post-fireworks concert was put on by Bay Chamber Concerts, which celebrated its 50th anniversary with the 1960s tunes.