Tag Archives: fireworks

All Fireworks

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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Fourth of July 2011

If you’ve been reading along with the blog, you’ve learned about family traditions at Madden’s, Madden’s 4th of July Traditions, and behind the scenes for our 4th of July fireworks. I even posted about the Beach Party  that took place Sunday night. Hours and hours of preparation have led up to this one day. Our staff in all areas of the resort have been working hard non stop! They fed 450 at the cook-out!

Now that we’ve spent all of this time preparing we are a little sad that it is over. We hope you’ve enjoyed your stay with us. Weren’t able to make it this year? Join us next year! We’re taking reservations already.

Below is a photo recap of the events from yesterday’s Fourth of July celebration at Madden’s.

Zambelli Fireworks spent all day preparing for the magnificent firework show

Adventure Cove Kid's prepare their float for their parade around the resort

Mom gets a snapshot of the kid's before taking off for the parade

The Adventure Cove Children's Parade

The massive buffet line at the evening cook-out. Not including the dessert station or an individual station for each meat.

Enthusiastic Madden's servers prepare for the cook-out

Families relax after the cook-out meal before the fireworks

Hundreds of guests pack the deck and first hole on Pine Beach East course to watch the fireworks

Guests fill the first hole on Pine Beach East Golf Course awating the fireworks

Boats fill Steamboat Bay in front of Madden's marina awaiting fireworks

Madden's employees Fred (left) and Jackson (right) sing the national anthem before the fireworks begin

It was tough to get any photo that showed the magnitude of the fireworks. I’ll leave it to your imagination… Join us next year and find out.

Happy Birthday America, Elizabeth


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Fourth of July Fireworks at Madden’s

What do you think of when you think of fireworks? The Fourth of July? Picnics in the park? The bright lights?

Well, that’s what I think of. But for many others, there is more to fireworks than the ooohs and aaahs.

Zambelli Fireworks, the largest firework company in the nation will be back at Madden’s this year for our Fourth of July Celebration. Working together with Madden’s staff, Zambelli has produced fantastic firework shows at Madden’s for about 7 years.

About 45 shells per minute will be fired off during the show! That amounts to about 900 total shells in 20 minutes totaling around 1000 pounds of explosives. Wow!

Behind the Scenes

From the audience’s standpoint, the fireworks happen like magic. But for a few others, it takes a lot more work. Terry Dolan, Event Services Manager, has worked at Madden’s for 24 years. His job is to make many of the behind the scenes details happen at Madden’s: from setting up tables and tents for a cook out to every detail of your event or conference, Terry and his team make it happen. So I asked Terry to let us in on some of details. Here’s what I learned.

When I picture a team putting on a firework show, I see a bunch of guys running around lighting fireworks in some planned order. It may have been that way in the past, but not today. Terry told me about the racks and switchboard Zambelli uses to line up the fireworks safely and quickly.

Each firework is called a shell. They can vary in size. The majority of fireworks Madden’s uses are 4 inch shells. We use shells that large so the fireworks will get above the trees so people can see them from all around.

Various types of racks used for loading and aiming fireworks

It used to be that you had to dig a hole in the ground, place the shell in, and then light the firework by hand. Today, instead of digging holes, firework professionals use racks. Racks come in all different forms, but the idea is that the shell will slide down into a tube on the rack. Then you strategically aim each tube so your entire audience can see it. Finally it can be set up so the firework takes off at one push of a button on a battery-powered switchboard. Okay, so its a little more complicated than that, but you can picture it right? Nine hundred 4-inch shells dropped in tubes only to be launched out and explode with glory at the touch of a button. No wonder it looks so amazing! Look for my post after the Fourth of July Celebration. I’ll see what I can learn about the fireworks during set up.

What you need to know

What: Fourth of July Fireworks
Date: July 4, 2011
Time: 10:15 pm
Location: Madden’s Resort

**Will you be joining us this year for the fireworks? Tell us your 4th of July plans! Comment or email me at**


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The 4th of July Tradition at Madden’s


Some traditions like Christmas tree decorating and great-grandma’s secret recipe are passed down from generation to generation. Others can grow out of things as small as a game of hide and go seek or a couple frames of lawn bowling.

So what is your tradition? Take a minute to think about it…

While you’re thinking, let me tell you about ours.

The 4th of July

The 4th of July is a tradition at Madden’s. And it’s not just a one day affair. Depending on what day of the week the fourth is on, we plan 3 or 4 days of activities, celebration, and fun. This year, we have 4 full days! I don’t have space to talk about the whole 4th of July experience, but let me tell you about the festivities on the 4th.

The day begins with your choice of activitives: fitness class, tennis lessons, and horseback riding are scheduled. Plus you can enjoy any of our recreation choices like biking, trap shootingwatercraft and the many Tennis & Croquet Club’s offerings.

Next is the event many of the children look forward to: a parade! The chidren in the activity program at Adventure Cove prepare a float with decorations and then do their own parade around the resort. A much cherished memory for many.

Then the annual cook-out: this isn’t just any cook-out either. The menu consists of rotissare chicken, trout, ribs, steaks, burgers, brats, and hot dogs with sides of potatoes, corn, fruit, and salad. Is that enough for you? It usually is for the 650 people that join us! And the cook-out is open to the public. Please register in advance at the front desk if you’d like to join us.

After the cook-out, folks start heading up to the deck at the Inn for live entertainment. From the deck, there is an incredible view of the lake to watch all of the boats pulling up for the fireworks.

By 10 pm, boats have filled the bays surrounding Madden’s with just feet between each of them. Entertainment by Dave Hudson will begin at 10 pm in the O’Madden Pub. At about 10-10:15, fireworks will fill the air for about 20 minutes using about 1000 pounds explosives! Need I say more?

Why not add another tradition to your family memories? Join us for the 4th of July.

What you need to know:

Where: Madden’s on Gull Lake
When: July 1-4, 2011
Cook-out: July 4, 6-8 pm
Fireworks: July 4, 10 pm


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