REVERE — America’s first public beach celebrated its 125th anniversary Tuesday night with fireworks and COVID-19 vaccines, despite the unseasonably cold weather.
Hundreds of residents gathered on a stretch of Revere Beach as the anniversary celebration started after 7 p.m., playing beach volleyball and listening to music from Branded Country, a country band from Waterford, Conn.
Governor Charlie Baker took the stage as the celebration got underway with a proclamation declaring the anniversary date as Revere Beach Day across the commonwealth.
Baker called the anniversary “a big statement about many generations of those who’ve lived, grown up, and worked in Revere, and made sure this jewel along the Atlantic Ocean and East Coast, would stay a jewel for over a century.”
Revere Beach is loved by countless families across New England, and has been a summertime magnet for the past century, said Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo.
“For 125 years, although the makeup of the city and the way the city looks has certainly changed an awful lot, what hasn’t changed is the fact that we are a destination for families all over the region,” Arrigo said. “We’re excited to promote that and have 125 years going strong at Revere Beach.”
Arrigo also noted the struggles Revere families have faced living through more than a year of the pandemic, making this anniversary especially celebratory for the city.
“It’s been a really hard year and a half for the residents,” he said. “To be able to have an event where we get together, celebrate, and enjoy our beach, is exciting. It’s been long overdue.”
Spectators danced in the streets while the live band played “Sweet Caroline,” children waving flashing neon swords to the rhythm.
Erin Mcquaid and Deb Frank, both from Revere, said they walked over to the event from their neighboring homes on Ocean Avenue. Frank said the past year has been difficult, “but I think everyone is having fun here tonight.”
Roseanne Reid of Dorchester, another spectator, said she’s been visiting Revere since her youth. “There’s a lot to like about Revere,” she said.
Massachusetts General Hospital parked a Community Cares Van on Ocean Avenue to provide COVID-19 vaccines for those attending the celebration, said Priya Gupta, a medical director for the hospital’s mobile vaccine initiative.
“We literally just started and we’ve already had seven people registered, so it looks like we’ll have a great turnout,” Gupta said. “It’s a really good opportunity for us to get those remaining people who still need to get their vaccine.”
Gupta encouraged anyone who has not yet received a COVID vaccine to make an appointment online through the state’s website, or to keep an eye out for Mass General vans, which will continue providing shots in the Boston area.
The night finished off with a 15-minute fireworks show that started after 9 p.m., the sparks partially obscured by the heavy fog settling over the beach.
The anniversary celebration was originally set for Monday, exactly 125 years after Revere Beach was opened to the public on July 12, 1896, but was cancelled due to rain forecasts, the city said in a statement.
The Metropolitan Park Commission acquired nearly 3 miles of private seacoast in 1896, which would later become the Revere Beach Reservation, according to the Revere Beach website. Charles Elliot, a Cambridge-born landscaper, was appointed by the commission to design the Revere Beaches for public use that same year, the website read.
“We must not conceal from visitors the long sweep of the open beach which is the finest thing about the reservation,” Elliot said in November 1896, according to www.RevereBeach.com/history.
The Revere Beach’s public appeal was instrumental in development and growth of Revere, the city’s website said.
Katie Redefer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.