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Preparing fireworks for big July 4th show
ESCAMBIA COUNTY -- We are just about 24 hours away from what will hopefully be some exciting fireworks displays across the gulf coast.
Preparations are being made for Sertoma's 4th of July Fireworks Celebration in Pensacola.
The concept seems pretty simple. You take a bunch of gun powder and sparkly things, wrap it in a bag, drop it in a tube like this, light it on fire and it explodes. Now coordinate about 10,000 of those and sync all that to music. That's the goal for Sertoma's 4th of July Celebration and they hope it's going to bring a spectacular fireworks display."))
Boom goes the dynamite! Fireworks lighting up the night bringing smiles to young and old.
But it all starts with deliberate planning. East Coast Pyrotechnics has to build the frames which hold the launching tubes, and then load each shell by hand.
Josh Parrish/East Coast Pyrotechnics
"Every shell is numbered and addressed so that way we can sync it up with a computer and that syncs with the music."
That's no small task. Each explosion has to be timed just right to accentuate the songs.
"The characteristics of the shell is known. How long of a lift it has. How long it's going to burn before it explodes. And then what it's going to look like."
"For example 'What a Wonderful World' with Louis Armstrong. Trees of green, you'll see green palm trees. Skies of blue, it's going to have a blue sky. Clouds of white, you'll see lots of white."
Before the show can go, there needs to be a place to launch the fireworks from.
The good news is Frank Patti, Jr just got a barge to replace the one he plans to turn into an artificial reef. Sertoma asked and he said yes.
Frank Patti, Jr/Patti Marine
"We go out every year, and if I don't I we do it here at the house, but in any case, we're big on 4th of July celebrations. Love our country, love our city, and love to celebrate."
Of course, safety is a primary concern. The Fire Marshals inspected and gave their thumbs up.
When the guys start the show, they stay behind a safety wall holding a "dead man switch" in case something goes wrong.
"If a shell were to detonate inside the tube and not launch it can fire shells that are around it. And that's something you watch for. That's why we have that dead man's switch which if we see something that's not safe we let go and that stops the show instantly."
Hours of preparation for an explosive celebration.
"We're looking for a great show this year, we're excited about it. And we're hoping for nice dry weather."
Now all eyes turn to the sky. There is a threat for rain for this show but guys here say that won't stop them from firing these off. They're protected wrapped in plastic and ready to go. The only thing that would put the show on hold would be danger from lightning.