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Pyrotechnics convention concluding with a bang

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For the Pyrotechnics Guild International convention schedule and information on the organization, visit www.pgi.org /convention/2012/.

Updated: September 17, 2012 12:38PM



If you think fireworks are a blast, then you’ll be in awe at what should be a jaw-dropping show at the Grand Public Display, the finale of the annual convention of the Pyrotechnics Guild International, held this year at the LaPorte County Fairgrounds.

A PGI spokesman told me that Guild members include professionals from companies that do big computer-fired choreographed displays at special events, as well as beginners and hobbyists who hand-make one-of-a-kind rockets that might weigh up to 100 pounds each and take a month to build. He said that the evening shows feature the work of both.

The public displays are scheduled to include aerial fireworks and a great amount of ground effects, comprising as much as one third of the show. These range from old-school wheels to complex, cutting-edge ground effects that will at times fill the infield.

The companies that do public displays are interested in impressing people in their field, as well as their competition, by their show at the public display. Many of the hobbyists have created a firework rocket that they hope might be picked up by a commercial production company, according to the PGI spokesman.

The result is a quite impressive show for both the professionals and the public that includes unique things not seen in the rest of the country, or even the rest of the world. I was told that the shows generally last more than an hour.

Friday’s show will be a night of “seriously intense fireworks,” according to the Guild website. It will feature original shells that were assembled during the convention, then culminate with a display that has been “three years in the making.”

The finale will take place at 9 p.m. at the grandstand of the LaPorte County Fairgrounds, 2581 W. Indiana 2. Tickets are $20. Seating is in the grandstand, and lawn chairs and coolers are not allowed. I understand that this event is traditionally a sellout. Parking is $5 per car, with limited preferred parking available for $10 per car. Gates open at 6 p.m.

Advance tickets are available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the fairgrounds (362-2647) , at the LaPorte County Convention and Visitor Bureau at 4073 S. Franklin St., and at Marquette Mall in Michigan City (800-634-2650).

Friday night’s show will conclude a week of seminars and meetings for PGI members. The seminar topics range from subjects like the basics of pyrotechnic chemistry or safety, and building a shell from scratch for those new to the hobby or field, to show design and computer choreography for professionals attending from around the world.

There are also competitions for members throughout the convention, and open “shooting” starting each day at about 4 p.m. where the products of members’ experiments and projects are launched.



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