Ever wonder how many fireworks are launched during the Fourth of July Fireworks show at Jones Beach or how much garbage is collected after the holiday weekend?
Here we give you a behind-the-scenes look into what goes into a fireworks show at Jones Beach, from Garden State Fireworks.
Meet the mortars
Mortar racks consist of black pipe-like structures constructed from High Density Polyethylene tubing. Each firework is loaded into its own mortar, and then an electric match is inserted into each rocket, with each wired to a circuit.
Thousands of fireworks are a 'go'
It's hard to count the fireworks when they are actually bursting in air, but more than 8,000 are slated to fly this year. (Pictured: Fireworks explode above Jones Beach on July 4, 2015.)
They should consider buying rolls in bulk
The expectation is that more than 7,000 hot dogs will be sold during the Fourth of July weekend.
The team behind the show
Garden State Fireworks Inc., founded in 1890, will be putting together the Jones Beach Fireworks Show. The company is custom-manufacturing display shells for the production, with about 25 people working on the display. The Jones Beach Fireworks Show is scheduled to run for 30 minutes, but the set-up takes four days.
Keeping fireworks working properly
The aluminum foil in this photo is in place to prevent premature firing, and the plastic coverings are there to protect loaded and wired fireworks from weather. The plastic is removed for demonstrations . . . unless it rains. The muzzle velocity of a firework at launch point could blast through plywood without much difficulty, so should the rain start to fall, fireworks can still be launched through the plastic without issue.
U - S - A
The fireworks pictured here are grand indeed, but those in attendance should keep an eye out for the spelling of "U.S.A.," one letter at a time in quick succession.
You'll go slow after the show
Traffic fluctuates from year to year, but it is best to wait until traffic slows prior to leaving. With 100,000 people leaving at one time, roadways will back up -- so expect delays. Normally it takes traffic more than an hour to clear from the park.
The fireworks 'after-trash'
It should be no surprise that big crowds usually result in big clean-ups. Following the Fourth of July weekend, more than 500 cubic yards of trash gets removed -- that's about 2,000 bags. Here, garbage is piled high in a dumpster at Jones Beach, with the beach's iconic water tower standing in the background.
The fireworks soundtrack is simulcast on Walk 97.5 and K 98.3
A Garden State Fireworks show includes choreography and design of fireworks as well as the creation of a soundtrack (that gets approval from Jones Beach). This software allows the main handler to select and fire off a firework as preferred. However, such arrangement also involves knowing how each firework ignites, launches and explodes. "Our goal is to bring the audience on a roller coaster of visuals and sounds," explains Chris Santore, production manager and choreographer for Garden State Fireworks. "We are just as anxious to see the display as the audience. We spend hundreds of man hours and can't wait to unleash our efforts on the sky. There are no dress rehearsals. Each display is like a snowflake. An exploding snowflake. We envision what it will look like, but we don't get to see it until everyone else does, and when it's over, chances are we will be the ones screaming the loudest and jumping the highest."
It takes rigorous training to be a lead fireworks technician
Garden State Fireworks employees are trained directly by the senior most family members, who were born and raised in this business. "Training involves learning first and foremost to respect the danger of fireworks," said Chris Santore. "As a manufacturing company we understand every component of how an aerial display shell is built, how it functions and therefore how safest to handle it. The majority of our lead technicians are employees who work full time manufacturing fireworks. We train new field technicians annually through seminars and by working with them one to one, side by side on an actual display making sure they understand every phase of the production from set up to execution."
Fully staffed and ready for the public
With thousands of people expected to attend, the staff of operations, revenue, maintenance and safety staffers will number in excess of 700. Here, an employee of Jones Beach State Park inspects the sand during a low-crowd moment.