The Avon Fishing Pier is opening for its 56th season on Good Friday, April 19, and longtime visitors can expect some familiar faces and events, as well as some new additions for 2019.
In 2018, the Avon Pier had a delayed reopening due to damage from a month of nor’easters that battered the island in March, but this year, the team at Avon Pier could focus on renovations versus repairs, thanks to a relatively mild winter.
“Traditionally, the pier has always opened on Good Friday,” says Avon Pier owner Joe Thompson. “Last year, we had issues with the pier and Easter was early. But this year, Good Friday was a much more feasible date to reach.”
The pier house has gotten a bit of a facelift for its upcoming season, with completely remodeled bathrooms, new lighting fixtures, a freshly repainted interior, and even new check-out counters for faster transactions.
In addition, the Avon Pier will also be offering more food items, particularly for breakfast and lunch, which includes easy-to-grab sandwiches, burritos, pizza, and other casual beach fare.
“[It] will be self-serve items, but you’ll be able to easily grab a bite to eat at the pier,” says Thompson.
While the pier opens its doors to the public, work underneath the structure will begin in the coming days, as the pier partners with the National Park Service to secure the structure’s foundation. Thompson reports that work will be progressing on securing the long-term sustainability of one of the island’s only two piers, through the addition of pilings and structural elements to help fortify the pier house.
“There will be some temporary closures under the pier house itself, but that won’t affect access to the beach, or to the pier,” says Thompson.
Despite the current or upcoming changes, there are some favorite events and folks returning for 2019, as well.
Keith Matthews is returning as the pier manager – his 27th season – and the pier’s acclaimed two fall fishing tournaments are already scheduled for 2019. The women’s only Fish Like a Girl Tournament, a charity tournament for breast cancer, will be returning the first Saturday in October, and the PBR Classic Tournament, which benefits Operation Comfort Warrior, will be returning Veterans’ Day Weekend.
The pier’s most anticipated event of the year – the annual 4th of July Fireworks display – is also readily scheduled for 2019, and the contract with longtime fireworks partner Pyrotecnico is already in place to orchestrate the show for another year.
Visitors are reminded that a fishing license is not required to fish off the Avon Pier, and rental rods and rigs are readily available for anglers. “One of the things that we’re probably the proudest of is that you can go fishing with your family for the day affordably, and don’t need extra [equipment],” says Thompson.
And with the opening just days away, Thompson and the Avon Pier team are anticipating another busy season.
“The pier is a favorite hang-out for locals,” says Thompson, “and one thing we’ve seen is that the [popularity] of the pier is not just because of the pier itself. There’s also parking, easy access to the beach, restrooms, and showers, which makes it a destination that’s so important to everybody – including people who are just looking for an easy way to get to the beach.”
More information about the Avon pier, including passes and hours, can be found online at https://www.avonfishingpier.com/.