In The News

Fort Worth will be flashy on the Fourth

by Terry Evans | Jul 03, 2013

Fireworks with a decidedly Japanese flavor will explode over the Trinity River on July Fourth, the expert in charge of them said.

“This show has things I’ve never seen,” said Mike Wagner of Extreme Pyrotechnics.

Fort Worth’s Fourth, sponsored by the Trinity River Vision Authority, will feature more than 3 tons of fireworks in a 28-minute show at Panther Island Pavilion.

“I clearly tell people, if you want to treat yourself and your kids to the largest and most impressive fireworks show in North Texas, this is the place to be and it will not blow up your wallet,” said J.D. Granger, executive director of the authority.

Granger said that most of the $150,000 fireworks show was donated by Fort Worth’s friends in Nagaoka, Japan, recognizing its 25th year of being sister cities with Fort Worth.

“The first 12 minutes will be Japanese-style fireworks,” Wagner said. “They put a lot of pride into making sure the symmetry is intact.”

Part of Nagaoka’s show uses 6-inch pattern shells — which make two-dimensional pictures in the air — set to Deep in the Heart of Texas, Wagner said.

Another song in the Japanese show features 8-inch shells fired one every 3 to 3.5 seconds, Wagner said.

“Eight-inch is the biggest shell we’ve ever shot in Fort Worth,” he said.

The second part of the show features 16 minutes of Chinese fireworks, said Wagner, who goes to China to direct their production and assure their quality. He promised a Texas-style show.

“It’s more of a rock and roll thing, a roller coaster with highs and lows,” he said. “We tend to think outside the box, and we have a manufacturer that’s built some stuff for us that no other fireworks show has.”

The 2012 show featured a “wall of fire” that alarmed some folks so much that they called 911, Wagner said.

“We’re guaranteed to get even more 911 calls, because we’ve got a bigger wall of fire this year,” he said. “People don’t expect things like this and they think something went wrong. But it’s all planned, and you’ll be able to see it from anywhere in Fort Worth.”

However, the key to enjoying Fort Worth’s Fourth is to be close enough to hear the music synchronized to the fireworks, Wagner said.

“It’s timed to one-100th of a second,” he said. “We have a choreographer who’s been doing it for 35 years.”

Terry Evans, 817-390-7620 Twitter: @fwstevans