Let’s set the scene — The sky illuminates with a classic East End sunset of oranges, reds and purples and slowly fades to black. Psst.. you hear a beer crack, as your boy jams on the guitar. All your friends are huddled up, staying warm by the fire and engaging in aimless but genuine conversation. A night well spent with your toes in the sand enjoying the natural beauty of the East End.
How to Throw a Proper Bonfire
Bonfires are an opportunity during the busy summer — or even better now in the fall months — that allows you to take a deep breath and enjoy the company of your best friends in a natural setting. The beautiful beaches of the East End create some amazing times, and bonfire get-togethers are some of the most memorable and entertaining experiences one can endure. It has actually been said that a good beach fire is “nature’s television.” We liked that analogy, and whether it’s a full-on rager or just a night hangin’ with good company, Whalebone loves a good bonfire. For those new to the game, we wanted to give you guys the tools you need to throw a bangin’ bonfire out here on the East End.
Weather: Nobody wants to sit in the rain all night, nor does your fire. Make sure you plan it out according to the weather. Also, wind = burning eyes and smelly clothes. Keep an eye on the wind. Anything over 15 mph should be reconsidered.
Drinks: Beer and wine are the ‘go-tos’ — easy to transport, easy to keep cool. Grab a cooler, buy some ice and fill her up to the brim with your favorite beers and a couple bottles of rose’ and you’ll be solid. If you’re feeling creative and trying to quench the thirst of the masses, a keg buried in the sand never hurt nobody. That’s one of the oldest tricks in the bonfire book.
Building Your Spot: Dig a hole for the fire, build a “teepee” with the wood and stuff newspaper underneath. This is the best way to get the fire going. It allows oxygen to flow through and keep that puppy goin’. Grab some lighter fluid for backup help, if needed.
Location + Gear: I usually bring a couple chairs down, but if planned last minute one of my favorite things to do is build them out of sand. Smooth out a half circle around the fire upwind so you’re not getting smoked out. Throw a blanket on top and kick back. Also, keep in mind secluded beaches are nice, but access is also a factor. Try and find someone with four wheel drive to drop off supplies and wood, but also make it close enough for people to walk down from a parking lot in striking distance.
Food: BBQ is the go-to. Grab a portable BBQ and whip up some burgers and dogs. Keep it simple. Maybe get some take-out from your favorite spot, if you don’t feel like cooking.
Tips and Laws
Size matters. Fires are supposed to be two-by-two feet. Other need-to-knows by law include; a bucket of water to put out fire, no fires allowed when the wind is over 25 mph, and the fire must be at least 50 feet from the dunes and/or 25 feet from lifeguard stands. And remember, ALWAYS try and be nice to the marine patrol. Chances are they will check you out. They are just trying to keep the beaches safe, so be respectful, listen to them and avoid the pricey bonfire ticket.
Clean Up: No one likes to see garbage and untamed fires all over the beach. Minimize trash and don’t bury fires with sand — they stay lit under there. You wouldn’t want to step on a scorching ember and neither does anyone else.
Clothing: Bathing suits for skinny dipping or pre-sunset surfs. Sweatpants, sweatshirts and blanket for when the sun goes down and it gets chilly. Dress cozy.
People: Invite people you enjoy being around. You don’t want that sloppy drunk kid. Keep it casual and try to invite people you want to create memories with. Your company is everything!
Before you head down to the beach for your ‘soiree’ be sure to check these off your list: