Setting Up for the Big Show: Local Fireworks on the 4th - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Setting Up for the Big Show: Local Fireworks on the 4th

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At the top of the towers at John Ascuaga's Nugget, they're setting up an arsenal for Star Spangled Sparks. In between opening boxes and stringing wires, Jason Wilcox told us, "We're shooting 2-inch shells up here, and that's the biggest you can shoot off the roofs. We've got red, blue, white, silver…"

As you can imagine, fireworks companies are fully booked on the 4th of July. But the show in Sparks is big enough to reserve one of the biggest and the best: Lantis Fireworks out of Utah. Jason's dad, head pyro technician Cory Wilcox told us, "We do Hot August Nights, Street Vibrations, New Year's Eve…and definitely the 4th here at the Nugget."

A typical fireworks show, which lasts only about 20 minutes, takes a full year of planning to put together. The crew we found has been here all week working 12 to 16 hour days…and not just on the roof. Crew member Cole Guymon told us, "We were down at the rail yard for 3 days now." Cole is the new guy on the job. He's psyched that his first show is this one. "I think it's going to be pretty sweet. It's going to be a good time."

The preparation is more than just putting the explosives in a row. There are storyboards, a flow and music choreography…all tied in with 15,000 (15,000!) individual rounds, all connected the old-fashioned way: by hand, wire by wire by wire.

From there, it's all microprocessor-controlled. Cory Wilcox told us, "Every shell has a certain time it's supposed to go off to match up with the music, for things like 'hearts' or ‘cymbals crashing', or anything else that you want to hear and see it in the sky."

July 4th, at about 9:45, they'll be ready to fire…if it's not too windy. Last year, the fireworks were delayed by high winds. Too many people left and missed it all by the time they finally went off. But the guys on the roof give a guarantee. Cory says, "We will shoot the show. So hang tight, bear with us, and when the winds are down, we're going to party on."

Down below, the crowds in Victorian Square will be tilting their heads toward the skies…for the area's biggest fireworks show of the year. But it's not the only one on the 4th: Artown will have fireworks after their patriotic Concert in the Park. It's at Wingfield Park from 7:30 to 10. Virginia City is hosting a 25-minute fireworks show that will shoot off at dark. Or catch any of lakeside displays at Tahoe. There's one at Tahoe Keys Marina starting at 9:30.

-written by John Potter

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