The Fourth of July fireworks over the Toms River packs both sides of the river with crowds to watch the night sky light up on Independence Day.
But the river itself is also packed with marine traffic for one of the busiest times for the Toms River as vessels of all sizes from high speed race boats to sailboats to inflatable rafts venture out to float under the fireworks.
Keeping everyone safe are patrols from the New Jersey State Police’s Maritime Division, as well as the Toms River Police Department, who have a police boat. Fire companies such as Silverton even help out, as does the river front towns’ volunteer fire departments.
In some cases the firefighters use their boat’s firehoses to drench the nearby treeline from the bluff where the fireworks are shot from in Beachwood.
That’s one of many safety protocol local first responders take to help fireworks go off without a hitch. Another is police from Beachwood, Toms River, South Toms River, Pine Beach and Ocean Gate helping to direct traffic and allow pedestrians to cross main streets with safety.
The event is hosted and paid for by Beachwood Borough, mainly through donations accepted year-round, but also by sponsors such as JCP&L and the Toms River Country Club, totalling about $20,000.
With a swell in visitors to Beachwood’s riverfront, the festivities mean that police, volunteers and CERT team members post temporary “no parking” signs throughout the borough.
At Mayo Park in Beachwood, the town hosts some vendors and fun to help kick off the festivities before dusk hits at one of the most popular spots to watch the fireworks.
Estimates put about 10,000 onlookers in Beachwood, while many others take to Huddy Park in Toms River or the nearby Ocean County Riverfront Park, on East Water Street. Still others watch along from their properties along Washington Street or over Point O’Woods. And the dozens of boats on the river itself, including the River Lady, which sells out of its annual fireworks cruise.
July 4, dusk is 9:01 p.m., with the fireworks going off shortly thereafter and lasting about 20 minutes.
The event is free, but Beachwood accepts donations year round, at Beachwood Fireworks on the River, 1600 Pinewald Road, Beachwood NJ 08722.
Here’s the view over the Toms River fireworks by drone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZrF0TJhU-8