Niagara Gazette


July 3, 2013

Flame on! Fireworks company owner readies for the biggest day of the year

Niagara Gazette — So, there's that one jolly guy whose job culminates on a very merry holiday each year and who delights children of all ages.

Then, on a day like today, there's all the other guys — men and women actually — whose workload also explodes on one big day every year, and who also bring smiles to the faces of young and old.

They are the producers of the all the fireworks displays that are lighting the nights throughout the U.S.A. on this Independence Day weekend.

And, as the "shooters" light the fuses of rockets that burst skyward to shine a rainbow of colors on upturned faces, each production can feel a lot like a Broadway opening night. Failure to launch can make for a really bad day.

On a good day, when rockets are soaring and people are cheering, the flame lighters can surely feel the glow. "You do feel like a rock star for about the first twenty minutes," said Matt Shaw, owner of Skylighters in Orchard Park, whose company is doing two local shows tonight. 

After the cheers that greet the first blasts, however, it's time to get down to business and do your best to awe the people on the blankets and lawn chairs, who often number in the thousands, he said.

Damian DiCola of Zambelli Fireworks, is producing a show Friday at the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel, and he and his crew are following a precise plan in preparation for their big show.

"It does feel like Christmas, because we can't let anybody down," said  DiCola. "We pride ourselves on that," he said. 

His company, located in New Castle, Pa.,  is presenting about 750 shows all over the country this weekend. The Seneca Casino show is "definitely considered one of our larger fourth of July shows," he said. "It's set to music, so it's fully choreographed."

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