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Days! preparation for a massive Fourth of July fireworks display at San Francisco’s Pier 39 Friday night, crews today are busy setting up for the show.

Jeff Thomas, a pyrotechnician and show producer from Pyro Spectaculars by Souza, is organizing the dazzling explosive show that will involve setting off 10,000 firework devices from four barges at two Bay sites for a 20-minute show near the popular tourist area.

The show is expected to begin at 9:30 p.m., with prime viewing at Aquatic Park near Ghirardelli Square.

This morning, the 30,000 pounds of explosive materials were being moved from a staging area at Pier 50 onto the barges, which will set out near Pier 39 on Friday evening.

Thomas said in past years, the fireworks went off from near Pier 39 and the Municipal Pier near Fort Mason simultaneously, but because of safety reasons on the eroded city pier, the pyrotechnic crew cannot access that area this year.

Viewers can expect to see different firework designs shoot into the air anywhere from 100 feet to 1,100 feet.Thomas said this year’s show includes a lot of red, white and blue effects and patriotic music accompanying the display. He said to also look out for a design that looks like an octopus.

As a longtime pyrotechnician, he said his favorite designs are the ones with long-lasting effects that linger in the sky before dissipating.

Thomas said, “I consider it paint, not explosives.”

The thousands of canisters carrying powder are set off electronically through computer-assisted technology. Thomas said his crew of 20 is working to safely put on the show and clean up afterwards.

Foggy conditions are always a concern for viewers, but Thomas said as long as the fog is not lying too low, the show should be as spectacular as planned.

According to Thomas, about four months of planning goes into creating the fireworks show, which is considered one of the biggest in the nation.

More information about the Fourth of July celebrations at Pier 39 are available at

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

Orginal Article --

PASADENA ( — Preparations for LA’s largest and longest-running Fourth of July extravaganza are underway.

Paul Souza and his crew from Pyro Spectaculars spent Wednesday in full preparation for Friday’s fireworks show at the Rose Bowl, dubbed “Americafest”.

“We try every year to do things bigger and better,” Souza said. “This year’s focal point is the two hundredth anniversary of the National Anthem, so we’re setting of a gigantic flag inside the stadium, (a) massively-scaled set-piece flag to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary.”

Souza knows well the safety risks involved in such a show, and he is aware of accidents involving 4th of July fireworks shows over recent years, but he is not worried. He says his crew has already taken proper precautions.

“We have an extensive safety zone around the fireworks area, and we have a great relationship with local fire department here, the Pasadena Fire Department, who also helps us keep the public away from the fireworks zone,” Souza shared. “What else is safe, is being at a professional fireworks display. The safest thing to do is to
come here as opposed to trying to do something in your backyard that’s both illegal and unsafe.”

Souza provided CBS2 with a brief appetizer for his fireworks show, when, with the push of a button, ‘CBS2′ and a ‘KCAL9′ logos both ignited, illuminating the sky as mortar fireworks erupted in front of the Rose Bowl.

Pyro Spectaculars features two tons of festive explosives at Americafest, managed by 15 workers.

The 88th Annual Americafest kicks off this Friday, with tickets at $13 per person. Kids under 5 get in free.

For more information, visit the festival’s website.

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