City beaches along the Connecticut shoreline filled up quickly with people celebrating Independence Day and enjoying the sunshine.
The perfect Fourth of July forecast was good news for seasonal businesses that depend on sunny days.
“Usually it’s pretty slow and then for about three hours it is just non-stop,” said Ann Lee, who owns and operates the Just Chilin’ food truck with her husband by the beach in West Haven.
After big crowds during Monday night’s fireworks display by Savin Rock, Lee expects her business to benefit from another busy day at the beach.
“It’s all about the weather,” Lee said. “This is a weather driven business. If it’s rainy, you don’t bother coming out because you’re not making any money, but on a day like today it’s a fabulous place to be."
In Milford, Walnut Beach’s parking lot was at capacity before noon.
“To live a mile from the beach, you have to come down,” said Jen Lynch, who visited Walnut Beach with her family on the Fourth of July. “If you drive down the street you see all the out of state license plates, a lot of people come down here that don’t live in Connecticut.”
In recent years, Lynch said there has been a resurgence making Walnut Beach an even better shoreline summer destination.
“We never had hot dog carts down here,” Lynch said. “There’s food and we’ve been here for 10 years and in the past two years I would say it’s really come on.”
One of the vendors lined up by the Milford beach is Donna Carty with her Italian ice and hot dog stands.
“I really like to make a good profit,” Carty said. “But you know, I enjoy being here as well. It’s like a job and vacation all in the same breath.”
Even after the sun sets on the perfect afternoon at the beach, the Independence Day festivities in Milford will continue.
“We’ll probably go home for a little bit, come back watch the fireworks,” Lynch said. “The fireworks are amazing on the beach on Fourth of July.”
For Lee, this holiday is especially meaningful.
“I’m a naturalized American,” she said. “I’m very proud to say, born in another country, came over here took my test so today’s a big holiday for me.”
Lee said she believes her summer food truck business is a way to live out the American Dream.
“The American dream is to work hard and be rewarded,” she said. “And this is my reward.”