Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

How a Fourth of July fireworks show is made

DUNEDIN — Fourth of July fireworks start long before colored lights dot the sky and Katy Perry's Firework fades into Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA.

The 20-minute show Dunedin residents will enjoy from Florida Auto Exchange Stadium is run by Fireworks Displays Unlimited, a Tampa branch of a Miami-based pyrotechnics company.

Fireworks Displays Unlimited orders fireworks from China a year in advance, even before Dunedin and about 20 other cities sign on for Fourth of July shows, lead technician Kim Wawrowicz said.

Pulling off the $11,000 fireworks show requires collaboration between city officials, the Blue Jays, the fire marshal and Wawrowicz's team. They create a safe environment by inspecting the site and making sure the fireworks are far enough away from spectators.

"It's a lot of fun to get the families and kids out here and on the field," said Janette Donoghue, Dunedin Blue Jays assistant general manager. "It's a lot of excitement."

In Dunedin, the fireworks will launch from the field at Curtis Fundamental Elementary School, right by the stadium, rain or shine. They'll prepare the show as if it will rain, just to be safe, Wawrowicz said.

Only particularly heavy winds could stop the show. That's a change from last year, when the fireworks were launched from the stadium itself and flooding forced a cancellation.

Donoghue's office put together a soundtrack that Wawrowicz's team will synchronize to the explosions. Over 20 minutes, there will be 4,631 explosions. The pace, colors and firework styles of the show vary by city. July Fourth shows are heavy on red, white and blue.

The names of firework styles range from the everyday — rings and comets — to the more absurd, such as flower mines, dragon eggs, horsetails, cloudland fan rows and whirlwinds.

The average show requires at least 20 hours of preparation. That's about one hour per minute of fireworks.

"It's an adrenaline rush," Wawrowicz said. "If you go out there and put on the best show possible, you're really making people happy."

The celebration starts at 4 p.m. with a free Blue Jays game and a Greg Billings Band concert. Fireworks start at 9.

Contact Julie Kliegman at jkliegman@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4159. Follow @jmkliegman.

$11,000

budget

4,631

total explosions

1,840

grand finale shots

900

opening

sequence shots

79

types of fireworks

20

hours of preparation

8

colors used

6

show segments

How a Fourth of July fireworks show is made 07/03/14 [Last modified: Thursday, July 3, 2014 10:42am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was curious how he would feel — and perform — in Friday's exhibition against Nashville, his first game since mid-November knee surgery.

    The Lightning’s Alex Killorn, left, makes his preseason debut and has an assist in a 3-1 win against the Predators at Amalie Arena.
  2. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs this season while improving his defense and baserunning but wants to improve on his .236 batting average.
  3. Fennelly: Lightning's Manon Rheaume made history 25 years ago Saturday

    Lightning Strikes

    The name is part of Lightning history, hockey history, sports history.

    Lightning goalie Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in an NHL game 25 years ago today.
  4. Investigators reviewing HHS chief's private charter flights

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Federal investigators are examining Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price's recent use of costly charter flights on the taxpayers' dime for official business.

  5. FSU gives president John Thrasher a pay bump as its academic standing rises

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — With Florida State University moving closer to becoming a top-25 public university, the school's trustees on Friday bumped up President John Thrasher's salary by 7 percent and awarded him a $200,000 bonus.

    Florida State University President John Thrasher, center, is surrounded by lawmakers in 2016 as he visits the Florida Senate. Thrasher on Friday received a pay increase to go with the university's increased academic standing, including in the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking of public universities. FSU ranks 33rd this year, and is aiming for a top-25 spot. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]