Sept. 1, 2021 — The Centennial Fireworks and a Doobie Brothers tribute concert will highlight a weekend of festivities marking West Haven’s 100th anniversary.
The fireworks and concert, held by the City of West Haven Centennial Celebration Committee and the Savin Rock Fireworks Committee, are part of a six-month series of free events commemorating the community’s 1921 birth and its incorporation by the General Assembly as Connecticut’s youngest municipality.
Mayor Nancy R. Rossi, the centennial committee’s honorary chairwoman, said the fireworks, billed as “They Will Be Heard on the 3rd,” will launch off Bradley Point at 8 p.m. Friday. The rain date is Saturday.
“This event is going to feel more like the Fourth of July than the end of summer,” Rossi said. “The centennial committee wanted a capstone celebration to close out an entire season of concerts. I hope everyone comes out to enjoy the fun and community spirit the committee has been generating.”
According to organizers, the display was moved from July 3 to Labor Day weekend to safely accommodate the many spectators expected.
Gail Hande will push a “start button” to help launch the fireworks, said centennial committee Chairwoman Beth A. Sabo, the city’s commissioner of human resources.
Sabo said Hande, of West Haven, was among dozens of supporters who purchased a $10 centennial lawn sign and was entered into a raffle for a chance to push the button. Hande, whose name was drawn in the raffle at Saturday night’s
centennial concert, and up to three guests will also dine on burgers and hot dogs under the fireworks committee’s hospitality tent before and during the display, she said.
At 5 p.m. Friday, police will close Captain Thomas Boulevard and Ocean Avenue, from Kelsey Avenue to South Street. The roads will reopen around 10 p.m., according to police.
Residents and nonresidents should take note that police will strictly enforce all beach regulations, which are posted at each access point along the shoreline, as well as the following restrictions:
— All bags will be subject to search before entering the beach area.
— No coolers or alcoholic beverages will be allowed on the beach.
— No disorderly or obscene conduct will be tolerated.
— No open fires or cooking will be allowed on the beach.
Before the fireworks, people of all ages can shake, rattle and roll to funk and rock music played by the Kathy Thompson Band on a portable stage in front of Savin Rock from 6-8 p.m.
A fleet of food trucks will line the north side of Captain Thomas Boulevard, from Dyke Street to Platt Court, and dish up burgers, hot dogs, cheesesteak, fried dough, gyros, kebabs, and sausage and peppers. Dessert trucks will offer cannoli, cupcakes and ice cream.
On Sunday, the West Haven Centennial Concert Series will culminate in Old Grove Park at 7 p.m. with a two-hour show by What a Fool Believes, “a Doobie Brothers experience.”
The six-piece tribute band will celebrate the Doobies’ 50th anniversary, performing such timeless hits as “Listen to the Music,” “Long Train Runnin’,” “China Grove,” “Black Water,” “Takin’ It to the Streets,” “What a Fool Believes” and “Minute by Minute.” The rain date is Sept. 9.
“Six of the Northeast’s top professional musicians have pooled their talents, years of performance experience and their love of The Doobie Brothers to become the very best Doobies tribute show in the country today,” the band said in a statement. “Inspired by the Brothers’ superior songwriting, What a Fool Believes delivers powerful harmonies and a fun-filled, high-energy performance covering a catalog of Doobies hits spanning both the Tom Johnston and Michael McDonald eras.”
The show is co-sponsored by the West Haven Veterans Council and West Haven Vietnam Veterans.
A row of food trucks will serve up eats and sweets on Palace Street.
The fireworks and concert will join a long list of special events observing West Haven’s secession from Orange a century ago, including the Centennial Boat Parade in June and the Centennial Savin Rock Festival in July. The rural and residential sections of Orange separated in 1921 when the residential part, West Haven, became the state’s youngest town.
In the spirit of West Haven’s birthday, Sabo will sell centennial coins and lapel pins at the hospitality tent at both events.
All merchandise proceeds generated by the centennial committee will offset expenses and support the $50,000 centennial budget approved by the City Council, Sabo said.
Milford vendor JOD Designs, a veteran-owned screen printing company, will sell centennial and Savin Rock T-shirts at both events.
For other centennial merchandise, visit the official Online Store
The store, hosted by West Haven vendor West Shore Associates, sells such centennial-branded merchandise as long- and short-sleeved T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, stainless steel tumblers, stemless wine glasses, insulated beverage bottles, ceramic mugs, retro sunglasses, canvas and cotton tote bags, eco-performance face masks, and pigment-dyed twill and mesh trucker caps.
A portion of the vendors’ merchandise proceeds will support the centennial account, Sabo said.
For a complete list of centennial events, see the Schedule