Bonac Fireworks Fizzle

Morgan McGivern

The mid-July fireworks show over Three Mile Harbor that has punctuated East Hampton summers for 35 years will not be held this year after the death last month of Rossetti Perchik, the founder of the Clamshell Foundation, a nonprofit group that had sponsored the event.

The Clamshell Foundation announced this week that despite the popularity of the show, which drew hundreds of spectators to the shores and waters of Three Mile Harbor, it would not be able to continue its sponsorship. In recent years, said William Kalbacher, a member of the foundation’s board, fund-raising fell short, and Mr. Perchik personally underwrote the event.

Mr. Perchik’s wishes, his colleague said, were to devote the bulk of the small organization’s limited resources to its major fund-raiser, an annual sandcastle contest on Atlantic Beach in Amagansett that is scheduled to be held on Aug. 6.

The longstanding fireworks show, a “national-class” extravaganza presented by Fireworks by Grucci, grew from a friendship between James Grucci and George Plimpton, a fireworks aficionado who was also a friend of Anthony Drexel Duke. All three men have since died.

Mr. Plimpton suggested that Mr. Grucci set off some leftover fireworks to entertain the campers at Boys Harbor, the camp for disadvantaged children founded by Mr. Duke. It became an annual tradition and fund-raiser for the harborfront camp.

When the camp was closed, Mr. Perchik determined to have the show go on, and organized it, renaming it the Great Bonac Fireworks Show in 2009.

The Clamshell Foundation is open to working with another organization or individuals that might want to continue to make a go of it, Mr. Kalbacher said.

“Hopefully another organization will get involved and pick up the ball,” East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said yesterday. “That’s really sad. People really looked forward to it.”

But, he said, beyond public safety coverage, such as traffic control and the like on fireworks night, “I don’t see a role for the town in that.”

Phil Grucci, chief executive officer of Fireworks by Grucci, said yesterday that “in the spirit of Tony and Rossetti,” the company would be happy to help facilitate the continuance of the show, which, along with the Fourth of July fireworks at Amagansett’s Devon Yacht Club, has been one of the company’s longest-running annual displays.

Grucci charged neither Boys Harbor or the Clamshell Foundation its regular rate for the show, accepting instead a donation of whatever money was raised toward a family foundation that supports various charitable causes. “If someone came up last-minute,” Mr. Grucci said, the show could still go on.