Fireworks Crew Clean-Up and Prepare for 2008

By: Whitney Holmes Email
By: Whitney Holmes Email

July 5, 2007

Setting the Charlottesville sky alight, this year's July Fourth fireworks show went out with a bang, bringing in the largest crowd ever of about 16,000 admirers.

"The fireworks themselves were just as good as they possibly could be," said Dave Phillips of the Save The Fireworks Foundation. "And there was a nice wind up there that could clear the smoke out so everyone could see."

An army of volunteers and $45,000 in donations came together to put on this year's spectacular.

But for all that glitters, there is something that fizzles.

"The hardest part is finding volunteers to come and clean-up the day after the fireworks," explained Phillips. "But we have good cooperation from the Boy Scouts and our fireworks crew is over on the golf course cleaning up as well."

At least twenty-five workers began combing the area around McIntire Park at six Thursday morning, searching for remnants of the 1,600 fireworks shells used in the show.

In addition to having to clean-up about 500 of the racks that stored the shells, Phillips says the volunteers also have debris that to pick up.

"It's like a treasure hunt. You find car keys, rings, wallets, and sunglasses. And occasionally you find an unspent shell and you have professionals that dispose of them."

While the show went off without a hitch, the show's architect says his goal is to keep us on the edge of our picnic blankets.

"Doing fireworks is a creative thing for me, so there will always be some changes," confessed Bob Schmidt, the lead pyrotechnic shooter.
"I will change the way the finale looks next year, so that people aren't totally ready for it. I will probably get rid of some of the smaller shells and add a few bigger ones."

The clean-up wrapped up by noon on Thursday, and the planning process for next year has already begun with a hashing out of what changes and improvements the team would like to see for July 4, 2008.

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