Boom town

Saturday's impromptu fireworks, as seen from a kitchen window on Main Street.Joanie Ballard
Saturday’s impromptu fireworks, as seen from a kitchen window on Main Street.

An Inn at Little Washington regular, apparently celebrating his wife’s birthday and his own successful fight against cancer, briefly but memorably changed the character of a quiet night in town last Saturday night (July 18).

Fireworks — some 15 minutes of professional, impressive, high-altitude and very loud fireworks — erupted not long after dark in the pasture owned by the Inn behind its Shops building on Main Street.

“We were expecting a short, homegrown burst of fireworks celebrating a very regular guest’s wife’s birthday and his remission from stage-four cancer,” said Inn chef and proprietor Patrick O’Connell, responding by email to questions about the party, which also lit up the switchboard briefly at the sheriff’s office and, after any initial terrorist-attack alarms, got more than a few town folk out of the house and into the street to watch.

“No one dreamed it would be so elaborate,” O’Connell said. “Apparently the company wanted to make an impression with us so they decided to knock it out of the park. The idea started with our crew planning to have a few sparklers and then someone thought it best to have a licensed professional company involved who could handle all the necessary safety precautions, permitting and insurance. We certainly would have made our immediate neighbors aware if we had realized how long and loud it was going to be.”

Knocking it out of the park, then, was William Gibbs of Staunton-based Virginia Sky Painters, whose company had filed the appropriate permit with the county’s building/emergency-services office the week before.

The Inn declined to identify the celebrating guests.

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