By Alexandria Hoff

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — The stormy weather Thursday did not put a damper on the kickoff of the holiday weekend. After last year’s pandemic cancelations, the Jersey Shore is ready to celebrate the 4th.

This time last year, officials were vocal in their concern about Fourth of July crowds and the continued spread of COVID-19. This year, vaccinated crowds are very much welcome.

READ MORE: Realmuto, Segura Help Phillies Rally To 7-5 Win Vs. Nats

At least there was no traffic. That was the only good news for travelers making an early dash to the shore for the Fourth of July holiday. A fierce line of storms put a halt on just about everything shore-related Thursday.

In Atlantic City, the rides at Steel Pier had to take a short pause as vacationers dealt with a boardwalk washout.

“We’ll wait until it stops,” Steel Pier Owner Anthony Catanoso said. “We drop the rides, push the water off the deck and keep going.”

No amount of rain could dampen spirits, though, because the ability to operate at all feels like a gift compared to last year.

“We didn’t get open until July 2,” Catanoso said, “so we lost three months of our season last year. It was pretty devastating.”

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Casey Johnston's Parents Speaks Out After Missing Daughter's Body Found

What was lost due to the spread of COVID last year is returning thanks to the growing number of vaccinations.

“This year’s been good because we have seen the pent-up frustration of people who want to get out and play, they want to get outside in the fresh air,” Catanoso said.

Despite the possibility for spotty showers through Saturday, July 4 itself will likely be easy to enjoy.

The shore is not only the place to celebrate the birth of a nation but birthdays too, whether it’s turning 17 years old or 4 like Priscilla Beverly.

“It’s nice to be out here without a mask,” Natasha Beverly, Priscilla’s mom, said.

“It’s really nice seeing everyone’s faces and actually smile at people,” Miracle Barnes said. “It’s how we do in Jersey. We greet people with smiles.”

MORE NEWS: New Jersey Requiring All Employees In 'Certain' Healthcare Facilities Get COVID-19 Vaccine Or Regular Testing By Early September

In Atlantic City, the July 4 fireworks shows will take place at 9:20 p.m. from the Borgata and then from the Tropicana at 10 p.m. on Sunday.