30 Years of the Great Bonac Fireworks

The Great Bonac Fireworks, a 30-year tradition of spectacular midsummer fireworks over Three Mile Harbor in East Hampton, will take place on Saturday, July 16, at 9:15 p.m. The much-anticipated local event almost faded into history, but in 2009, The Clamshell Foundation, comprised of all volunteers and headed by a three-person board of directors, revived the popular event, to the delight of local residents, ensuring that future generations would continue to be a part of the historic annual festivities.

Rossetti Perchik, a local architect and resident, whose parents had a summer home in Springs, founded The Clamshell Foundation with Billy Kalbacher, a local builder, and his wife, Jill Kalbacher, a teacher in the Springs School. Perchik’s career has focused on environmental concerns, and his goal was to sponsor events that could raise money to support local people, projects and programs on the East End. [expand]

In a brief phone conversation with Perchik, also the executive director of the Clamshell Foundation, I learned about his commitment to locals and the area through a variety of programs. Naturally, he was excited about the upcoming events and the potential to raise much-needed capital. He said, “In 1996 The Clamshell Foundation became a 501(c)3, making it possible for contributors to gain a tax write-off for all donations to the foundation. One hundred percent of the profits go directly to the foundation, which then funnels the money to specific causes. To date we have raised more than $110,000.”

Perchik also spoke about a new project that he had discussed with Larry Penny, the Director of Natural Resources for the Town of East Hampton, that would help clean up the pollution in our bays and harbors, which is the result of aging septic systems leaking into them. “Oil and gas from road run-off also contribute to the contamination of the bays and harbors,” he said. “The goal is to create filtering ponds with plantings that would catch the pollutants before they could make their way into the local waters. There are numerous places that need attention and it only takes about $25,000 to make one of these filtering ponds. But my first goal is to launch an amazing night of fireworks, and a beautiful fun day with the 20th Annual East Hampton Sandcastle Contest at Atlantic Avenue Beach on August 6.”

The Gruccis of New York, the top name in fireworks worldwide, will stage the fireworks again this year. They are a fifth-generation family-owned and operated company on Long Island. They produce over 300 events annually around the world and have been responsible for the displays at seven consecutive U.S. Presidential Inaugurations.

The name Bonac traditionally refers to the Springs area of East Hampton, whose original families were among the early settlers coming from England in the 1600s and 1700s. Bonackers earned their living as baymen, fisherman and farmers and the local waters are still integral to their lives and income today.

Viewers will be able to see the fireworks from beaches, restaurants and residences encircling Three Mile Harbor, as well as from aboard their boats moored in the harbor. There will be parties at The Boathouse, East Hampton Point and The Harbor Bistro.


For more information on viewing the fireworks go to www.bonacfireworks.org. If you would like to make a donation to the foundation go to www.clamshellfoundation.org. Business owners interested in becoming a sponsor of The Clamshell Foundation can contact Rossetti Perchik by e-mail at [email protected]. [/expand]

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