Sparks amid sprinkles
Vince Hudkins and Ron Zinter set off some fountain fireworks Wednesday at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds in West Fargo. Amid dark clouds and occasional drizzles, the fireworks enthusiasts took advantage of the open shooting hours during the Pyr...
Vince Hudkins and Ron Zinter set off some fountain fireworks Wednesday at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds in West Fargo.
Amid dark clouds and occasional drizzles, the fireworks enthusiasts took advantage of the open shooting hours during the Pyrotechnics Guild Convention.
One by one, each cone-shaped fountain went off with smoke, bangs and sparks. But that wasn't the case Tuesday night.
The fountain fireworks included in their three-minute segment of Tuesday night's PGI show didn't light, likely because of loose wires connected to a remote device, Hudkins and Zinter said.
The two men are among about 2,300 people registered for the weeklong PGI convention at the fairgrounds. It ends Friday night with a grand finale show put on by PGI members.
Zinter said he and Hudkins worked to set up Tuesday's three-minute show for almost six hours, but said the time spent building fireworks can be rewarding for audiences. "It requires a lot of patience," Zinter said.
Hudkins has been interested in pyrotechnics since childhood.
"I've been into fireworks since I was about 7 or 8 years old," he said of building and experimenting with fireworks. "That kind of scared my parents."
Zinter and Hudkins say the cost of building fireworks varies depending on the type, size, quantity and chemicals used. The fountain rockets they fired cost $3 each, Hudkins said.
Zinter said a "recipe" of chemicals like charcoal, titanium, sulfur, and copper oxide are combined to produce fireworks' colors, speed and reaction.
Music and computers are also part of the recipe for fireworks display shows.
Mira LaCous, president and founder of Twin Cities-based Hollywood Pyrotechnics Inc., said some of her fireworks displays are set off to choreographed music. LaCous was slated to have a 14-minute display during Wednesday's show.
LaCous said her company's displays have been choreographed to music from films such as "Kill Bill," "Star Trek" and "Goldfinger."
"I try to carry the visual representation of the music," she said.
LaCous said a show like the 14-minute one slated for Wednesday could cost her company about $35,000. Planning for one show could take 40 hours and use up to 80 cases of product, she said.
But LaCous said the hours spent on displays are worth it.
"I've always enjoyed entertaining people," she said. "It's a deep, strong feeling to reward people with entertainment."
There is no PGI display show slated for tonight. Friday's finale begins at 9 p.m.
If you go
- What: PGI convention fireworks finale show
- When: Display shows start at 9 p.m. Friday
- Where: Red River Valley Fairgrounds in West Fargo
- Tickets: $15 per person. $5 parking
- Online: www.redrivervalleyfair.com
Readers can reach Forum reporter Benny Polacca at (701) 241-5504