April 01, 2002
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts April 2002 Current Issue
April 2002
Short Cuts:Fireworks add sparkle

They have names that sound like 1960s rock bands: Grapes All Over the Vineyard, Double Petal Chrysanthemums, The Happy Face and The Smiling Queen. But rather than filling a room with music, these entertainers promise riots of cascading color. “Fireworks bring excitement to events,” says Kevin Brueckner, president of Lakeside, Calif.-based Fireworks America (, one of the country’s largest pyrotechnic suppliers. “And synchronizing them to music brings emotion that creates a lasting memory.”

A hot new trend is the indoor fireworks show, specifically designed to eliminate the rain of burning embers that often accompanies traditional outdoor displays. But whether indoor or out, such pizzazz comes at a price. A one-minute display costs between $700 and $2,000, while a blowout spectacular choreographed to music can run in excess of $30,000.

Cost isn’t the only consideration: When choosing a fireworks vendor, ask to see a certificate of insurance. Also, each state has specific laws governing the use of fireworks, and vendors must be licensed to perform in the state where the event is being held. Because it takes at least 10 days to obtain permits from local police and fire authorities, book the supplier at least a few weeks out. Most reputable vendors are affiliated with the Bethesda, Md.-based American Pyrotechnic Association ( Members must adhere to the laws established by the National Council on Fireworks Safety ( based in Quincy, Mass. Brueckner suggests that planners take the time to go over these guidelines with the vendor, because certain factors will affect where the audience can sit and other requirements to provide a safe show.

• C.A.S.

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