The Fourth of July at our house is a huge event. It all began about 33 years ago, with my father in law who loves shooting fireworks.
My father in law started a tradition which is now loved by so many in our community. It all began with just him, some of his friends, and family, shooting fireworks just for the fun of it. The “just for the fun of it” part has slipped away, it is now, a job, and many people are associated with it. We live on a large pond (many think it is a lake) called Johnson’s Pond. Many people who live in the town and on the pond now donate every year to have this awesome fireworks display put on. It is usually about a $12,000 – $15,000 display every year, all from donations. My husband is now a licensed pyro technician and shoots the show. My husband has a crew of great guys who help him every year. Some are also licensed pyro technicians and some help because they love it. There are also a couple of apprentice that work hard putting in their hours, so they too, can become pyro technicians one day.
From the time my FIL started this until now, many things have changed. First of all, most fireworks were illegal in Rhode Island until only a few years ago. Back in the day, people could shoot them without all of the red-tape (especially before 9/11). Now there are permits that are needed, a big insurance policy as well as a police and fire detail at our home and neighborhood. There are many more safety regulations now, then in years past.
It takes the crew about 8 hours to get all of the fireworks into position and wired. They are placed in racks on docks which will be towed to the middle of the pond, directly in front of our house. It is hard, back-breaking work. Plus it is usually about 90 +/- degrees on the 4th of July. Here is what the show looks like when it is set up:
Our friends across the pond play The Star Spangle Banner every hour on the hour throughout the day. Just one more tradition that many have come to love. Once dusk has set in these docks are towed out to the middle of the pond, directly in front of our house. To the left and to the right of these docks are hundreds of boats, tied up, just waiting for the awesome show. The guys on the barge work in sync with our friends across the pond. At exactly 9:30pm and on that last note of the Star Spangle Banner being played so loud everyone can hear it. The burst of the first bombs light up the sky! You here whistles, and shouts, and boat horns from all directions. Everyone loves it!
Travis is not a fan of the fireworks. He made me sit inside with him while they were going off. He hates the noise, so hopefully in a year or two he will start to love them. He lives in the wrong house to hate fireworks. Christopher on the other hand loved to watch them, but did fall asleep half way through.
Here are 2 clips of video. 1) Is how it looks while being on those docks as the fireworks are being lit. 2) The other is video taken from a drone from above capturing the amazing display. Enjoy!
https://youtu.be/wnvqqarPgvI *Video Credit Steve Dlugosz
https://youtu.be/9VSyDM9xPsg *Video Credit Jon Pascua
Another tradition and one of the favorite parts for the little kids, is the BIG firetruck that get parked in our driveway for the day/night. Anyone that would like a chance to “drive” the truck, gets a turn. The firemen are great with the kids. Now of course Travis and his firetrucks… He sees them and will starting yelling to anyone who is listening, “the fire fucks are here, the fire fucks are here.” It’s just too damn funny. No one can help but to giggle. Here is a picture of him last year, and also one from this year with Christopher and his cousin Elli.
Once the fireworks are ready to be set off, all of our guests have settled in their spots. We usually have about 150-200 people that come to our house to watch the fireworks.
Another great part/tradition of our big day with family and friends is the massive dessert table we have at the end of the fireworks. Most people have been coming for so many years they just automatically bring a yummy dessert. Some are store bought, and some are so creative and gorgeous. Everyone young and old enjoys this part as well.
I hope we can keep these traditions going year after year. I would love for the two little guys to be able to grow up being a part of it.