Fireworks at Compo Beach. / Photos by Nathaniel Grauel
Fireworks at Compo Beach. / Photos by Nathaniel Grauel

WESTPORT — It was a perfect evening Tuesday for a barrage of rockets with red glare at Compo Beach. Cool, dry, and not a redcoat in site.

Compo is a proper place to mark Independence Day — the beachhead is where some 2,000 British troops landed a little over 247 years ago for their raid on Danbury. They were met with unorthodox shoot-and-scoot tactics by the motley bunch of colonial mutineers known as minutemen.

British Gen. William Tryon led the inland incursions in 1777, which left Norwalk and Fairfield torched (Westport was not yet its own municipality), a year after the Declaration of Independence was signed.

The British continued coastal campaigns, but never again ventured inland in Connecticut.

At dusk Tuesday, the beach was filled with many more thousands of people than the “lobsterbacks” mustered centuries ago, to watch the Police Athletic League’s annual fireworks display.

The pyrotechnics show, about a half-hour in length, began a little after 9 p.m. Melissa and Doug Bernstein and the Bernstein Family Foundation helped sponsor the event.

It did not disappoint. There were cheers and claps, hoots and hollers, and plenty of air horns a-honkin’ from the armada of recreational boaters assembled offshore, especially during the grand finale.

Keep scrolling for more photos, a photo gallery and video.

Patriotic boaters head to the Compo shore Tuesday evening.
Patriotic boaters head to the Compo shore Tuesday evening.
A packed Compo Beach at dusk.
A packed Compo Beach at dusk.
Fireworks at Compo Beach. / Photos by Nathaniel Grauel
Fireworks at Compo Beach 2024. / Video by Nathaniel Grauel