ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Before the ooh’s and ahh’s, there is a lot of work that goes into Rockford’s fireworks show.
Thousands of shells sat in their mortars waiting in a field near the Rock River Monday night, and just one little switch caused them to fire.
“We’ve got about over 6,000 pounds of equipment that we’re dealing with here,” said Mike Zuzock of Melrose Pyrotechnics.
Zuzock is responsible for it all. He has been with Melrose Pyrotechnics for over 25 years, and he and his crew spent the last two days unloading and setting up all of the fireworks. He is not only in charge of lighting the fireworks, he actually choreographed the entire show, synching it to music.
“Depending on the song, we try and certain scenes for different looks for the show. If it’s a slower song maybe you want some light strobes to go slow because they’ll slowly sparkle down the sky. It just, you’ve got something that’s got movement like a duration of a note or something,” Zuzock said. “Maybe you use a crossedge or bee’s or something so they go all through the sky.”
This year’s show almost did not look the way Zuzock wanted, as supply chain issues are also effecting the pyrotechnic field.
“The whole industry is struggling with the shells,” Zuzock said. “There’s certain shells you want for certain looks, and if you don’t have it you gotta try and find something to replace it.”
Zuzock was able to find every shell that he wanted. In fact, residents did not see two of the same firework Monday night as each shell was meant for a specific part of a specific song.
“Luckily we’ve had, we were well enough to have enough, a good amount a variety to deal with this year,” Zuzock said.
While people might think that setting off thousands of fireworks, which could blow up, would be Zuzock’s biggest worry, it is not the show, but residents that worry him.
“My whole hope, my only pressure is making sure the audience is happy,” Zuzock said. “Because that’s, the biggest thrill for me is hearing the audience at the end of the show.”