Sniffing Out the Fireworks In Advance of the Fair Park Fourth
And they say Fair Park is dying. Why, just this weekend -- we’re counting today as the weekend, and judging by traffic, you are as well -- two high-profile events are rolling through Dallas’ Art Deco ghost town. Tomorrow, as mentioned before, the city's throwing the inaugural Fair Park Fourth. It starts at 5 p.m., and allows visitors to rummage through any museum they want -- free of charge. And, best part, each museum will be air-conditioned.
But the museums are simply a prelude to the real show. At 9:30 p.m., they;re igniting a fireworks show. Now we know most towns tout their fireworks show as The Greatest In the History of Pyrotechnics, but we’re actually kind of leaning toward believing Friends of Fair Park president Ann Pomykal when she says this one will be “the signature event for the 4th of July.”
We believe her for one reason -- and it has nothing to do with museums or $50 million renovations. No, FOFP brought in The Grucci Family to put together the fireworks show. Like we said before, a big deal.
They’ve done the last six presidential inaugurations, the 2002 Winter Olympics, and every year they do the program for New York City’s New Year’s Eve celebration. They have a Corleone-like stranglehold on the fireworks world.
FOFP invited the local media to the staging area today so we could get a look at what goes into a world-class fireworks show. Our verdict: The preparation of a fireworks show isn’t nearly as fun as watching the effers explode. This is basically how it works: They attach some wires to the different-sized shells (the biggest one at the Fair Park show will be eight inches, which means it will go about 800 feet in the air), and a bunch of New Yorkers then stuff the shells into racks and racks of different-sized tubes. Looks kind of like that Whac-a-Mole game at Chuck E. Cheese’s. The ignition wires are then connected to a control panel that looks like my old Commodore 64, and when it’s time to shoot them off, some guy will hit a button and, one hopes, the corresponding tube will fire.
Now, Grucci is special because their fireworks shows are choreographed perfectly with whichever type of music their clients want. For Fair Park Fourth, the Friends went with Louis Armstrong, John Philip Sousa, Aretha Franklin and some of the best musicians in American history -- like, ah, Shania Twain and Gretchen Wilson. Gucci has some very talented people that sync up this music with the fireworks. They then record a tape that tells the trigger man exactly when to press a certain charge. The trigger man for this event is Tom Brown, but he won’t take credit for show, saying that Grucci’s sync-ers are artists who “use the sky as a canvas to color in light, color and sound.” Well said.
The music for the fireworks show will be played on the city-owned WRR-FM (101.1).
OK, the set-up ain’t too spellbinding. But should you be in need of a fireworks show tomorrow, you could do worse than the company the Bushes trust with their exploding rockets. Ceremonial exploding rockets.
Also at Fair Park today was the Warped Tour 2008 at the Superpages.com Center. Surely, the boys at DC9 will cover this more fully, but we’d just like to comment on how strange it is to be looking for a fireworks display and then suddenly find yourself engulfed in thousands of tongue-studded, man-liner-wearing teenagers. It’s like I was at some sort of anti-establishment event. Weird. --Spencer Campbell