George Plimpton was a lot of things: and was without a doubt, most definitely LITERARY. But today, we’ll move past the founder of the Paris Review‘s literary career, and talk about fireworks. Yes, George Plimpton was an all out no holds barred pyrotechnic maniac.

In the early 1970’s, Mr. Plimpton began humbly enough, with a small fireworks show at his home in the Hamptons on Bastille Day. Slowly, this small party became grander and grander. Eventually, he threw a party so big and wild that something had to be done. People Magazine recounted:

In the Long Island Hamptons, that Perrier of watering holes, they’re still doing a slow burn. At George Plimpton’s Bastille Day fireworks blast in July an errant comet cracker came whizzing out of the fog, dive-bombed guests like Candice Bergen, Norman Mailer and William Paley and sent two celebrants to the hospital emergency room.

Despite the errant fireworks, George Plimpton didn’t stop. He made amends and was named “Honorary Fireworks Commissioner of NYC.”


He moved his epic Bastille Day extravaganza to Three Mile Harbor, where he narrated the annual event. Since George Plimpton passed away in 2003, the narrator has changed, but the event is still held every year, on the weekend after Bastille Day. This year’s event will be on July 19th. So go if you can, literary friends. Have a few drinks, oohh and ahhh, and think of Mr. Plimpton, who loved his fireworks and once said, “I have never been convinced there’s anything inherently wrong in having fun.”