‘Beach Friendly Fourth’ campaign made notable inroads to a kinder, more welcoming Independence Day weekend for visitors, residents and the beach

LONG BEACH PENINSULA, Wash. – July 6, 2016 – Early feedback from tourism officials, law enforcement officers, businesses and residents reports a better Independence Day celebration than had been seen in a dozen years on Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula over the July 4 weekend.

“Everybody really enjoyed themselves and the amazing fireworks displays,” said Andi Day, executive director, Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau. “The tone was festive, while a safer, more family friendly atmosphere prevailed.”

An estimated 40,000 visitors showed up to watch the Long Beach fireworks display, many enjoying a full day playing on the beach before seeking out higher ground on top of the dunes and the boardwalk to watch the big show.

“It was great to see so many multi-generational families enjoying the beach activities together,” added Day.

Along with those attending Saturday’s Firecracker 5K and fireworks at the Port of Ilwaco, an artisan craft fair in Oysterville, a hometown parade and Art in the Park in Ocean Park, visitors taking part in a full weekend of events along the Peninsula filled most every lodging space including vacation rentals and campsites at this popular beach destination over this past weekend.

“We’re very grateful for everyone’s cooperation including the interactions of law-enforcement agencies and fire departments,” said Long Beach Mayor Jerry Phillips. “People were supportive of the well-publicized safety measures, some even thanked us for creating a better place to enjoy the Fourth of July with their children.”

With due credit to the successful public awareness campaign – Beach-Friendly Fourth – initiated by a group of residents and executed by Washington State Parks and local agencies, most visitors were aware of increased enforcement of existing regulations.

“From State Parks’ perspective, the Beach-Friendly campaign was very successful,” said Virginia Painter, the agency’s communications director. “Better Plan and the other groups and agencies were partners all along the way, and then on the holiday, the public came along with us on the effort.

“It’s really satisfying to see that people can work together for a good outcome.”

Newspaper, radio and television coverage helped people arrive informed. Point of purchase information, signage and flyers stated fireworks and beach-camping restrictions and reminded people of common-courtesy beach etiquette.

“Post celebration trash decreased this year,” said Shelly Pollock, coordinator, GrassRoots Garbage Gang, a community group organizing three beach clean ups annually to keep the 28 miles of coastline that are part of Washington’s Shoreline Conservation Area litter free. “We’re especially happy to see visitors stay and  join our regular volunteers to help tidy up the beach after the weekend’s festivities.”

“Fourth of July celebrations made a really positive turn in direction this year,” said Day. “We look forward to delivering an even better Independence Day experience for visitors and residents alike in years to come.”

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