New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper


Fireworks Show Begins with Long Set-up Process

It started early in the morning as nine volunteers and Roland Malboeus (starter), began the process of preparing New Britain’s firework show for Saturday night.

PVC pipes to hold fireworks, which would range from 3-6 inches and 8 inch, were put in containers and dumpsters. Dumpsters were filled with sand by payloaders to support tubes for the 8 inch fireworks. The 8 inch fireworks are the biggest of all the explosives.

Papers are removed and fireworks that look like a big egg with wires are placed in the tubes.

“Fire racks are set up in angles with barriers in between,” said Fire Inspector Bryan Anderson. “The nails are there to wrap wire around and support them.”

Spaghetti wires are strewn about from containers to a big yellow box which controls the explosions.

“We look for shorts in the wires,” said Anderson. “If one goes off wrong there can be a chain reaction.”

Malboeus said in order to do this job you have to be bitten by the fireworks bug.

“I kind of got conned into doing this in the 1990s,” said Malboeus.

The half hour show had over 1,600 shots go off in all.

“We start with the three shot openings,” Malboeus said Saturday afternoon as workers did the tedious task of bending over tubes connecting each wire on the racks. “There are 900 shots, but some are single, pairs, threes and flights, which are 5.”

Numbers showed 144 singles at 4 inch; 150 of the 5 inch shells; 144 of the 6 inch shells and 50 of the big 8 inch shells besides the smaller 3 inch shells were planned.

“That is a lot for most any show,” said Malboeus. “This is one of biggest shows I’ve done this year.”

In the finale there were 620 color shells, 200 salutes at the end and 20 of the 4 inch shells used.

“We set up them all up to go off electronically,” said Malboeus. “There is no choreography, but we layer it up with 6, 5, 4 inch shells and angle them a little bit. It looks like they are going straight up and out.”

The over 25,000 people at Stanley Quarter Park saw the fruits of all their labor begin shortly before 9:30 p.m. The show lastly nearly 30 minutes long.

Once the show is complete it is time for a long break down. Most important is to find duds and remove them before leaving.

On Sunday fire inspectors continued the search for duds in the woods and park. Any duds were soaked to prevent them from going off.

The 21st Annual Great American Boom is one of the biggest fireworks celebrations in the state.

This giant 4th of July celebration began at 5 p.m. with the opening of several attractions and food vendors, followed by a concert starting at 6 p.m. by Latanya Farrell and the Bookman Styles Band and finally culminated with the spectacular fireworks display.

The New Britain Parks and Recreation Department had entire fleet of attractions set up for the public’s enjoyment. The fleet consisted of the giant trampolines, carnival games, interactive inflatables, pony rides, micro derby car races, along with other attractions.

It also featured the largest array of food vendors in the history of the Great American Boom selling a variety of special treats including: hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, steak and cheese grinders, fried shrimp, fried clams, buffalo wings, thai food, fried dough, funnel cakes, fried desserts, Italian ice, kettle korn, ice cream, non alcoholic pina coladas, slushies and more

In all, it is estimated that over 40,000 people saw the show.