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Pyrotechnics sellout expected

Not only are some people allowed to blow up tons of gun powder, but lots of people are paying to see them do it. Sixty-four hundred tickets are available for the Pyrotechnics Guild International show, all of which are expected to sell by Friday, ...

Not only are some people allowed to blow up tons of gun powder, but lots of people are paying to see them do it.

Sixty-four hundred tickets are available for the Pyrotechnics Guild International show, all of which are expected to sell by Friday, said Bruce Olson, manager of the Red River Fair.

Sunday night's show drew a crowd of 2,000, Olson said.

The number of attendees has grown steadily every night since, he said.

"We're right on target," he said.

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There is plenty of parking to accommodate grandstand viewers, he said. There are non-fee parking areas near the fairgrounds for those who want to watch the show from a small distance.

Olson said people were at the fairgrounds by 7 p.m. for the 9:30 p.m. show at the Friday performance two years ago.

Tickets are being sold at the Red River Valley Fair office as well as at the 27 Stop 'n Go stores around Fargo and West Fargo. They cost $17 each and offer unlimited access to all the shows through Friday.

When people are handling such explosive material, extensive safety measures must be taken.

The West Fargo Fire Department has a truck permanently stationed at the fairgrounds from the time open shooting starts until the show ends, said fire chief Roy Schatschneider.

The fire department is in constant contact with members of the guild, he said.

The guild itself abides by strict safety guidelines, including transporting the fireworks in special kinds of boxes and trucks with special driver's licenses, said Tom Handel, a member of the guild's safety team. Many of the courses offered throughout the week-long convention address safety concerns, he said.

After working with the show for three years, Schatschneider is convinced it is a class act.

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"They have some pretty tight controls on" the show, he said.

Viewers may not see the many layers of safety measures that have been taken. What they will see are original fireworks, some of which can't be seen in any other venue, Handel said.

"It's beautiful," Olson said. "You can't describe a show like this."

Call the Red River Valley Fair office to buy tickets or for information regarding non-fee parking areas at (701) 282-2200.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Lisa Schneider at (701) 241-5529

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