STAMFORD - Stamford residents celebrated the Fourth of July early with a fireworks display Thursday evening.

Thousands of people turned out to the beach where pyrotechnicians set off the show.

They showed up hours before the show began to find a seat with good views.

Alexandra Laureano arrived six hours early to get her spot, but Dennis McMahon claimed his front-row seat back in 1997. That's when McMahon purchased his house, which is adjacent to where the fireworks are launched every year.

Independence Day is also his wife Maribeth's birthday. McMahon says he took off work all week to get ready for the fireworks show. 

The couple has been together for 36 years, after they met at a Fourth of July party on Maribeth's 18th birthday.

"This was a dream for my wife when we did get here and she saw the beauty of it," McMahon says.