Crowds lined the Atlantic City Boardwalk and beach Friday night as Revel launched the first of three nights of fireworks displays scheduled for the holiday weekend.

Longtime residents have said the fireworks are the first to be launched on Labor Day weekend in the city’s recent history.

Jim and Andrea McHugh, of Philadelphia, visited Atlantic City specifically for the fireworks. They arrived about 7:30 p.m. in anticipation of the 9:30 p.m. show.

“I’m a firework fan,” Jim McHugh said. “We did some gambling prior to, at Revel. I got an email blast from them saying there were fireworks. I got the card when they first opened.”

The McHughs picked out a spot on the railing of the Boardwalk in front of Revel to watch the fireworks. They did not plan to stay the night.

“We might gamble a little more, donate some more money, and then go,” Jim McHugh said.

On the Boardwalk, viewers lined the railing in anticipation. Some brought their own chairs. Others stood or sat on benches. Groups of viewers sat on the beach. Inside Revel, viewers crowded the panoramic windows.

The fireworks display, which lasted about 10 minutes, was launched near the water on Revel Beach. The launching area looked like a volcano, with rockets appearing to shoot out from a pile of boulders. The colorful explosions reflected in Revel’s glass exterior. During a few 10-second gaps between fireworks, and after the grand finale, the crowd clapped and yelled together.

Onlookers were permitted to stand very close to the launching area.

“I’ve never been that close to fireworks in my life,” said Samuel Williams, of Atlantic City. “That was crazy. That was really crazy.”

Williams said he had no idea that the fireworks were scheduled. He was walking near the Boardwalk when he heard the show start.

“Those were good fireworks,” he said. “They did a good job with them.”

He said they wouldn’t keep him on the Boardwalk.

“I’ll probably walk around some, but then I’m going home,” he said.

Jonathan and Kristen Haldeman, of New York, were visiting Atlantic City for the weekend. They watched the show on the beach.

“We’re staying in one of the casinos, but not Revel.” Kristen Haldeman said. “We wanted to come down to see what Revel looks like, and we saw all these people lined up. Someone said there were fireworks, and we were like, ‘Why not watch?’ It’s a perfect night. There’s a full moon.”

Jonathan Haldeman said he was impressed by the show.

“They started kind of small,” he said. “But about two minutes in, until the end, that was one of the better firework shows I’ve seen.”

He said they had already planned to take a walk through Revel.

“We were going to check it out anyway,” he said. “I’m excited, though. That was a cool way to start my impression of Revel.”

Contact David Simpson:


More Saturday, Sunday

When: 9:30 p.m. both nights. The shows lasts 10 minutes.

Where: Revel, 500 Boardwalk, Atlantic City