The man behind Albany's fireworks show - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

The man behind Albany's fireworks show

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June 26, 2006

Albany -- This year's Albany Independence Day Fireworks Celebration will honor the National Guard's 48th Brigade, specifically  the 26 members who were killed in Iraq during their year-long deployment. The man in charge of Albany's fireworks show said it will be a special one.

No one at the City of Albany is sure how long they have had a Fourth of July Fireworks show, but the people who put it on say it is an important tradition. Dale Henry said, "It's something that has been going on here for probably 50 years, and it's something people look forward to."

 Dale Henry of the City's Central Services Department coordinates the fireworks show. They don't hire professionals. City workers were trained and licensed to do it themselves. Dale Henry said, "It's a lot of fun. It's also dangerous, but I got about 10 guys, some whom have been doing this for 20 years or longer."

Henry started as a helper in 1990. Henry said, "We've come a long way. We used to light them all by hand." Now the rockets are hooked up by wire to a switching board, and fired by flipping a switch. The crew made all the gear from scratch. Henry said, "Everybody sees us on the Fourth. We started working on it back in the middle of March."

This year's show will feature $14,000 worth of fireworks. Henry promises some surprises. Henry said, "I've actually ordered some stuff they haven't seen before this time. We try to change it up every year, make it new."

Henry and his crew work all through the holiday for the 40-minute show, but he says it's worth it. Henry said, "Sure do, It's worth it when you hear the crowd. I mean they really enjoy it."

The man behind the Fourth of July fireworks show, and he promises it will be spectacular. 25,000 to 30,000 spectators are expected at this year's Independence Day Fireworks Celebration in Albany.

City leaders say the best seats are at the RiverFront and Turtle Grove Parks. But they remind you no alcohol and no fireworks, even legal sparklers, at the celebration.

The Fourth of July holiday fireworks will start Friday night in Albany.   Albany's Marine Base will sponsor it's 12th Annual Independence Day Celebration Friday, June 30th. They will have games, bands, and attractions for the family starting at 4PM. The Fireworks start at dark, about 9:15. It's free and open to the community.

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