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2005 North Carolina Fireworks Shoot

OK, I've got all my planning done now for the shoot. I'm still working on the soundtrack with some suggestions from LJ friends. I've got the site plans done. Last night I sorted out the goody box to make sure I had all my tools, extra fuse and so forth. I need another roll of caution tape. I'm due at the plant in Iowa at noon tomorrow to pick up all the pyro for the shoot which I went over there to pre-order last week. Near as I can figure, we have about $5000 worth of stuff that I'm paying $2000 for. I still need to pick up a couple extra fire helmets for the spotters from Gwen and Rob. I was looking at my shoot shirt the other day. It's getting pretty holey from me catching fire several times. The spotters this time are going to have to really watch me because when I was testing some of the effects last weekend, there was a ton of fallout. Good thing I wear a Nomex hood under my fire helmet because it keeps my long hair from becoming crispy critters but the rest of me, especially my shoulders are not fire proof. "Oh look, Mark is on fire again. Someone should go put him out."

For the record. You know it when you are on fire. It's just a little impractical to stop the show so you can put yourself out. Most of the time a piece of burning fallout comes to rest on your shoulder or back and either smoulders until it burns through to your skin or catches fire outright. You usually don't catch fire though because you are generally sweating so much under two layers of long sleeve cotton shirts, a Nomex hood and a fire helmet when it's already 80 degrees or better outside. Your sweat keeps you from actually bursting into flame. But sometimes a nice piece of fallout will fall down your collar and catch you about mid-back. It's almost the identical sensation to someone putting an ice cube down your back except of course it's burning you and not chilling you. You can tell a shoot shirt has been around for awhile because of all the little frayed holes in it. Sometimes you don't notice you are on fire until after a shoot and someone notices smoke rising off you. That's always fun. Mostly you don't notice too much because of all the adrenaline running through you during a shoot.

The shoot will be Saturday, April 30 at Camp Bonner North near Washington, NC. If you'd like to come out just before dark to watch, you can. I can get you directions. If you want to come out and help set up, that's fine too. I'd give you a T-Shirt. Unfortunately the best I can do for you being on the site when we do the shoot is make you a spotter as both my insurance and my Federal licensing prohibit me from letting untrained personnel actually light anything. Still, a spotter gets to be a lot closer than the general spectator. And they get to put me out if I catch fire. Bonus! I can't have kids on the shoot site under 18 at any time so if you have kids and want to see the show with them, best I can do is find you a nice seat in the audience or maybe over by my folks who will be video taping the show and hopefully not the ground or the treetops this year. In any event, please let me know before I leave next Wednesday that you wish to attend.

I have to say that our plant responded well to the requests to put more noise into the pyro. They came out with several new cakes that I tested last weekend that not only give a super range of colorful effects but break really loud. If it's a clear night, it should be plenty loud. If it's a slightly humid or rainy night, it should be SUPER LOUD.

For anyone that cares, the opening of the show and the general layout can be found

Opening Layout - Dimensions are 16 feet tall and 20 feet wide.

Site Layout

We'll start the show off with the Lance Signs spelling out ECC (East Carolina Council) BSA (Boy Scouts of America) and the center Tarheel sign in Carolina blue in tribute to UNC winning the NCAA championships which will hopeful's bug any NC State, Duke or Wake fans present. The extremely loud Spider Woman fountains and the strobe pots will go then too. *Advice* don't look dirrectly at the strobe pots unless you don't care about seeing the rest of the show clearly.

Then I'll step back and begin lighting a row of Special Effect cakes with eclectic names like Shotgun Wedding, Bull's Rule, Hicktown Heaven and Shaolin Tradition.

Then it's back up front to light the 3 foot silver strobing wheels, the crossed Titanium Gerbs and the Niagra Falls so basically in this effect I'll have showers of sparks coming down like water, shooting upward and spinning around.

The two Crazy Creatures "V" cakes which go up in a huge V of different effects.

Next is a crossfire of 4 - 4 stage artillery shells. So 16 effects in the air at once.

Then 2 Crossfire cakes which throw up effects in an X pattern actually crossing over each other.

Then step back for another row of Special Effect Cakes as before.

Then a special this year of 24 - 4 stage artillery shells all at once. We call this a Wall of Fire effect. 96 separate effects in the air at once.

And last but not least by any stretch is 8 - 500 Gram finale cakes.

Hopefully all will go smoothly and not become the Super Bowl opening sectacle it was last year when a gross of Roman Candles tipped over backwards and shot right at me. Deb sais she was never more happy to see me emerging from a cloud of smoke still alive.

One thing. If you are working on the show, you have to be nice to everyone. The scouts will come up and ask some really boneheaded questions. Just don't answer in kind. The comments recieved after this show by the scouts and the leaders are my bread and butter for getting this show again next year. It's not set in stone and I have to renew the contract yearly. A sarcastic comment to some little kid could jeopardize that. If you don't know the answer, don't make one up. Direct the person to me and I'll answer the question.

Stay Green!




( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 22nd, 2005 08:34 pm (UTC)
Well have fun, but don't get crispy or dead!
Apr. 22nd, 2005 08:38 pm (UTC)
It would be hard to get dead from this one. Crispy is a better possibility but things usually turn out OK. It's the ones later in the summer that are more dangerous. The shells we use that could easily take a body part off. Though it was a cake last September that left a 2 month long bruise.

Apr. 22nd, 2005 09:00 pm (UTC)
Wow! That sounds like a fun thing to do. Dangerous though. And, I think I'd jus thave to stop to put myself out if I were on fire.
this is pretty close to me.
I'd love to come. But,I am working both days this weekend. :(
Hope it is lots of fun, no one catches on fire, and it is a great success.
Apr. 22nd, 2005 09:03 pm (UTC)
Next weekend actually. But I'll invite you to our Pre Fourth of July party at my farm. We blow stuff up there too.

Usually I find out after a show that I've been on fire. Burn holes and such.

Apr. 27th, 2005 05:42 pm (UTC)
I think I erased my reply. Anyway,Pre-fourth sounds fun!
Apr. 27th, 2005 05:48 pm (UTC)
I'll keep you in the loop.

Apr. 22nd, 2005 09:11 pm (UTC)
don't burn up, dude.

oh... I would greatly appreciate your perspective on my most recent entry when you are inclined to have a nice long read.
Apr. 22nd, 2005 09:16 pm (UTC)
I'll try not to burn up and I'll go read the entry now.

Apr. 23rd, 2005 02:38 am (UTC)



Don't worry about this Duke fan being offended. I shall take your "tribute" as UNC going down in the flames it so richly deserves. :P
Apr. 23rd, 2005 02:53 am (UTC)
You're lucky...you have a legitimate excuse to yell "Fire in the Hole!" Good luck with the shoot and be sure to stay green.
Apr. 25th, 2005 02:38 pm (UTC)
Come on out if you'd like. You could take some pix for your students. Chemical reactions in action.

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )