Niagara Gazette


July 3, 2013

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


Niagara Gazette —

However, every show has its own pressures, he added. "Our setups are pretty intense," he explained, noting that unlike some fireworks companies, his crews do not have to reload, which makes for a better and safer show. All the fireworks have their own mortar (the tube which holds the shell much like a cannon), so no crew member is holding live shells while hot embers are flying nearby.

Shaw, who worked as an assistant and then a shooter for Skylighters before purchasing the company eight years ago, is used to performing in front of large crowds. His company has done First Night Buffalo as well as other engagements in Niagara communities including Porter, Ransomville and Sanborn. He takes pride in hiring local operators from each community. 

Today, his company is returning to Hyde Park after a couple year hiatus.  John Caso, the city's deputy director of public works, led the selection process.  "They did a phenominal show the first year they were here," he said of Skylighters. "The good news is, they're local, just outside of Buffalo, and that's awesome."

Shaw's company is also producing the fireworks display tonight in Lewiston, and his company got that job because of the show they produced during the village's War of 1812 celebration last year.

"It was a spectacular show," said Terry Collesano, mayor of the village, commenting on the 1812 display. "I told my clerk to get in touch with them the next day."  The Lewiston show is partially funded by the Town of Lewiston, Town of Porter, Village of Youngstown, Art Park, and several other private concerns, the mayor said, and costs about $10,000.

Shaw said that while his company produces a lot of big shows, some people may not be aware that, thanks to new laws, fireworks companies can also produce small shows with less costly displays. "Those who meet the criteria as a customer can have a fireworks show in their backyard for about $1,500 bucks," he said. 

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