By Susan Pierce
For 25 years, the highlight of Riverbend’s fireworks finale has been the glittering white waterfall of fireworks streaming from the Market Street Bridge into the river beneath.
But the Market Street Bridge is closed for repair.
Consequently, Pyro Shows is shooting tonight’s extravaganza from the north side of the river at Renaissance Park, said Don Sharp, Riverbend operations manager.
Mr. Sharp says the fireworks faithful won’t be disappointed. He believes he’s found another water attraction to equal the waterfall.
In fact, he promises the ooh-aah factor should be off the charts.
Instead of fireworks streaming into the water from the bridge, his surprise will rise up from the water.
These shells float to the top of the water, start glowing red and then explode out of the water, said Mr. Sharp. They are designed not to hurt the environment. When they go off, their concussion goes up, not down, so it doesn’t hurt any fish. It’s pretty neat.
THE BIG BANG
Tonight’s fireworks finale will be a spectacular display of 7,365 shells, he said, a sizeable increase over the number of sparklers shot in past years.
Mr. Sharp said that without the cost of the waterfall, that extra money funded the purchase of more shells.
The intensity of the show in the air will be greater than if we had the waterfall, said Mr. Sharp. We’re making an effort to wow’ them.
SIGHT LINES AND SAFETY
Mr. Sharp said spectators will be able to see fireworks above Renaissance Park’s 40-foot-high tree line. He said all the shells will explode at least 100 feet in the air, with some going all the way up to 800 feet.
He said the fireworks display will be synchronized to music by the week’s headliners.
There will be a safety parameter in which people will not be allowed either on the water or in Renaissance Park.
We always do keep boaters out of the area during the fireworks, but the safety area will be a little bigger than it’s ever been. The boaters will not be in danger, he said.
We think people will be pleased. It won’t be the waterfall, but it will be great, said Chip Baker, executive director of the festival.
Look for the show to start about 11 p.m., he said.
E-mail Susan Pierce at email@example.com