Tahoe fireworks display brings 2.5 tons of pyrotechnic fun | RecordCourier.com

Tahoe fireworks display brings 2.5 tons of pyrotechnic fun

by Jack Barnwell
A barge is guided to the Edgewood Tahoe pier for fireworks to be loaded and taken out to the staging platform on Thursday.
Jack Barnwell / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

Stateline, Nev. — A big noise from the East Coast plans to bring the bang to Lake Tahoe’s fireworks show this year.

Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Authority selected Fireworks by Grucci, a New York-based pyrotechnics company, to perform the 25-minute fireworks display on Saturday evening over Lake Tahoe.

The show will contain 5,082 pounds of fireworks shot from mortar tubes.

Mark Frye, spokesperson for TDVA, said the company was chosen from a vigorous selection process.

Grucci has been conducting a much smaller fireworks show at Incline Village in Nevada for years.

“They understand Lake Tahoe’s environmental concerns,” Frye added.

Fireworks by Grucci holds two Guinness World Records, including largest pyrotechnic image of the American Flag over Fort McHenry in Baltimore and for largest fireworks display of 479,651 firework shells above the Dubai skyline in 2013 in six minutes.

A sixth-generation company, Grucci has operated since 1850 and bears the title “First Family of Fireworks.”

Prior to Grucci, Pyro-Spectacular executed the fireworks shows at the south shore.

The fireworks show will be launched from three barges near Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, where crews have been shipping them out over the course of five days.

Joe Mercante, Grucci’s show producer, said the arrangement would create an amazing spectacle.

“We have this large, beautiful lake and people will be watching 360 degrees,” Mercante said. “With one barge it can be beautiful, with three it’s truly amazing.”

He added it would add more variety and help with the fireworks American Flag. The water’s reflective surface helps as well.

“You’ll have that secondary shimmer on the water,” Mercante said.

Some of the firework displays expected include the USA special effect and the kamuro firework.

“It’s Japanese for ‘little boy’s haircut’ and comes down like a willow,” Mercante said.

Grucci will also debut its new mobile app to enhance its tradition of playing music to fireworks.

Grucci has been putting music to its fireworks shows since 1976.

“Fireworks as a singular entertainment source is beautiful because it gives you sound, light, and concussion,” Mercante said. “When we choreograph to music and a snippet has a repeat verse, the audience is engaged.”

He called it a sensory-involved experience.

“This is going to touch every age group,” Mercante said.

The playlist will include a number of patriotic-themed music as performed by both classic entertainers and contemporary musicians.

A new smartphone app for 99 cents introduced by Grucci will allow participants to stream the music live if they don’t have access to KRLT 93.9. The app allows live editing without a lag and can give Mercante’s staff the option to make announcements.

Good track record

Fire Marshal Eric Guevin of Tahoe-Douglas Fire Protection District, said the process has gone smoothly in the last few days.

Tahoe-Douglas Fire participated in the selection of Grucci’s as the new fireworks team.

“They have demonstrated a good track record and they were actually members of the safety committee that developed guidelines for fireworks,” Guevin said Thursday.

He added there’s a bonus since Grucci manufactures its own fireworks as opposed to using third-party products.

“There is a higher level of comfort, because they make their own fireworks,” Guevin said.

Guevin added a lot of precautions are going into the displays. The show has been moved in Nevada to provide a single authority versus an interstate jurisdiction.

A 1,000-foot no-boating zone will be established around the barges and patrolled by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office on both land and water.

Even unexploded fireworks that might be found the next day have been marked with instructions to call local fire or police. Guevin said the standard protocol would be to keep everyone away until the fireworks have been recovered.

“Grucci’s has been really great to work with,” Guevin said.

Guevin added that it was better for the public to enjoy the free show, especially since consumer fireworks are illegal to use in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Patrols would be conducted and prosecution would be likely.