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Daily file photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Past fireworks shows like this one at the Spirit of America Festival have been visual delights, but this year’s production will be synchronized with music, which will be simulcast on three radio stations.

The Spirit Of America Festival
Pageantry will
end with a bang

Producers promise first-rate fireworks

By Tiffeny Hurtado · 340-2440

The fireworks at last year’s Spirit of America Festival ended without a finale when a shell misfired, but organizers promise that this year’s fireworks will be one of the best shows in the country.

Pyro Productions is in charge of launching the fireworks for the 13th consecutive year, and Debbie Neu, founder and owner, says the crowd will be wowed by the over-the-top fireworks synced perfectly with music.

“We expect people’s mouths to drop open when they see what we have planned this year,” Neu said.

Last year’s show was done electronically, and Neu says the company’s new system will ensure there won’t be glitches like the ones that occurred last July 4.

“We’re using the most advanced system in country and probably the world,” she said.

If you plan to see the high-powered pyrotechnics, it’s probably best to leave about an hour early because traffic coming into Point Mallard Park will be tight, said Capt. Ed Taylor with the Decatur Police Department.

There will be two-way traffic at Point Mallard until the fireworks show begins at 10 p.m., and when it concludes, only outgoing traffic will be allowed.

Shuttles will be available from 5:30 p.m. until midnight.

Shuttles will pick up at the General Electric parking lot and drop off at the Point Mallard campground area.

Neu says this is the same fireworks system that Pyro Productions has used at the Olympics, Super Bowl games, Thunder on the Mountain and other high-profile shows.

The Pyro Digital Computerized Firing System is so advanced that the eye-popping fireworks will fire within a 30th of a second of the all-American music that will be simulcast on three local stations.

The music can be heard on Star 99, Rocket 95 and WLOR AM-1550, and you can expect the fireworks show to include patriotic tunes like “God Bless the U.S.A” and the crowd-favorite “Sweet Home Alabama.”

“It doesn’t matter where you are,” said Clay Sanders, program director at Rocket 95.

“You can tune in even if you don’t have a seat at Point Mallard and enjoy the music that goes along with the fireworks,” he said.

Neu said that Pyro Productions, which is based in Adamsville near Birmingham, also ordered special equipment specifically for the Spirit of America festival.

The Chest Pain Center at Parkway Medical Center, the first and only accredited Chest Pain Center in Alabama, is sponsoring the show this year.

It took two days and a seven-person crew to set up for the show.

Neu also said the company is bringing in its veteran production manager, Marty Dudrow, who has been with the company for 13 years, to help with setup and firing.

“Safety is, of course, our No. 1 priority, and then comes entertainment,” she said.

The Decatur fire department will be there as well, and it has developed a safety plan with the company in case any incident should occur.

“We have 80 high-profile shows going on this year,” Neu said, “but the Spirit of America festival is at the top of our list because we want to give the crowd the best show possible.”

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