The tricks behind the Independence Day magic - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

The tricks behind the Independence Day magic

July 4, 2007

Albany -- As you sit back and relax Wednesday night and enjoy the elaborate display of fire in the sky, the guys behind the scenes will be working hard to entertain you. And the hard work didn't begin today.

"Preparation for this, I started planning in April," said fireworks coordinator Dale Henry. "We start to figure out what we're going to do, where we're going to do it, and how we are going to do it."

A crew of about ten city employees are the backbone behind the show, and they were up early today!"We'll get out here at six o'clock in the morning, a long day. We may get a break in the afternoon for about an hour or two. But other than that when it all starts and it is all said and done we probably spend 18 hours," said Henry.

And every year the set up is a little different. "Most of the stuff this year came out of Pennsylvania and out of South Carolina. A couple different fireworks companies that we got. We were basically fishing around for some new stuff; seeing what they got. And we are impressed," said Henry.

Whatever changes are made, the crew uses a switchboard to make it all come to life. "We built those about five to six years ago. Before we built those we used to fire everything by hand," said Henry. "Once it comes to show time we used to use a flare, light it and run away from it, said Albany's Southwest Super-intendant Daniel Whigham. 

The switchboard makes it a lot safer now. There are cords that run 100 feet from the board to each firework shell. But this isn't the only safety precaution the crew takes. "We went to a certification class that was put on by one of the fireworks companies. And we received our safety certifications to be able to do this," said Henry.

Safety is also a apart of the months of planning. "We have had meetings with APD, the fire department where they will be on site. The police department will be on sight. The Albany and Dougherty rescue teams will be here. We have fire trucks on sight, so we are good to go," said Henry.

They work hard to impress you. "Everything from hamburgers to hot dogs to bar-b-que or whatever. There is a lot of entertainment down here. So folks just need to come out and have a good time," said Henry.

And with all of the hard work these guys have put in, you probably won't be disappointed.

feedback: news@walb.com?subject=BehindtheScenes/DR