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Mantoloking Centennial fireworks display

July 3rd, 2011 · No Comments · Grucci

This weekend I was on a barge anchored out in the far north section of Barnegat Bay, off the shore of Mantoloking, to set up a display to commemorate the city’s 100th birthday. We based out of the yacht club there, and the managers were extremely friendly and looking forward to working with us on their first professional fireworks display – in years past for celebrations it’s always been just locals firing off stuff on the beach. I love being out on the water, so I was really looking forward to this show – also because it was my first barge show and the setting/logistics are obviously a bit different then a regular show out in a field. While the weather was largely clear and sunny like last year, the temperatures were nowhere near as high (barely hitting 85F) and a nice cool breeze on the water persisted all day. The yacht club had a boat to shuttle us to/from shore for bathroom breaks and they sent us out sandwiches from the catering truck serving their party for lunch and dinner.

Another first for me this show was getting to set up a set piece, which is the general term we use to describe anything that doesn’t fire out of a mortar and explode overhead. In this case it was a large “100th” made of sticky match that would flare up when lit so everyone ashore could see the lettering. Some assembly was required since it was about 30 feet wide and 15 feet tall and you obviously can’t fit that in one piece in the back of a packed truck! So after monkeying about on some scaffolding and a couple of strategically-placed zip ties it was all set to be wired up. Hurray for getting to climb around a bit :P

We were set up ready to go with plenty of time before sunset, which we used to devour some more tasty sandwiches from shore. Around 9pm the shuttle boat arrived to take 4 of us ashore while the other 4 remained aboard to fire and handle any problems. I would like to fire a show someday, but on the other hand if you do that you can’t see it. I don’t think I’ve gotten my fill of watching fireworks yet to the point where I wouldn’t care to see them anymore, so I opted to go ashore. There we discovered that the caterers still had some lobster dinners left, and they hooked us up with full platters!! I hadn’t had lobster fresh from the shell in years so that was pretty awesome.

The show went off without a hitch and the fire marshal had us fire off one last shell afterwards that failed to go up initially. We hopped back on the shuttle and spent about 30 minutes tossing everything onto just one of the two barges, then got a ride to the opposite shore where we were parked to avoid the mass of traffic on the beach-side of the town when we left for the night. Grucci had us in a hotel a few miles down the road but I opted for the 30-min drive back home to enjoy my own bed and do a bit of work on the computer.

It was back the next morning at 9am to clean up and repack the truck. The barge was docked ashore and we tore that sucker down in about an hour and a half! The crew was great and everyone got along, we all had a fun time working together on this show – a couple were on the crew I worked with last year as well so it was good to see them again.

Good times in the life of a pyro, once again. I took a few pictures – you can find them in my Grucci album on Facebook. Til next time, fellow pyro junkies!

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