All Fireworks

06 Jul

The Fourth of July Fireworks went off without a hitch. I’m here to tell you why.

There are many steps in preparing for the fireworks. I talked about some of it in a previous post, but now I was able to see it first hand!

Setting the empty racks in late morning. Plastic tubes fill the wooden racks. Each tube will have one shell dropped into it.

For the folks setting up Madden’s fireworks on the Fourth, the day began at around 10 am and they didn’t quit until long after the fireworks were done. It wasn’t just one person either. There had to be at least 4-5 people running around all day in the hot sun–great for swimming and cook-outs, but quite dehydrating for those setting up! I was impressed though with the energy the Zambelli staff had even through the hot day. Thanks Zambelli!

One of the first steps was to check each tube for debris from the last time they were used. “Cleaning out the guns” as the professionals call it. All it took was running a stick down each tube to make sure it was clear. But multiply that out time over 300-400 tubes and it takes a while.

Each shell is wired with an electric match which will then be plugged into a master switch box so the fireworks can be started from a safe distance.

Next the racks of tubes are set up very deliberately. The order, size, and color of each fireworks is very important to making a show spectacular.

Once the racks are set up, they start filling the tubes with shells and then wiring them to a yellow boxes. These yellow boxes will then be wired to a master box or used independently.

Various sizes of shells were used for the Madden’s fireworks: ranging from 2 inch to 7 inch. The size of the shell determines the height of firework. It also determines how far the audience can sit from the set-up. For each inch of shell, the audience must sit 70 feet away. So for the biggest shells, 7 inch, the audience must sit 490 feet away!

Wiring each shell into the main switchboard

Sadly, I couldn’t get any great photos of the fireworks to share with you. If you’ve seen fireworks before, you know why. They just can’t be captured with a camera. It can never be the same as being there.

Did anyone else get any great photos of the evening’s fireworks? I’d love to see them! Email me at or post them below in the comment section.

Until next time, Elizabeth


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