"You don't put anything over this you don't want to lose," said
Mortars were placed Thursday on a 35-foot barge docked in the
"We think we are going to have it," said
Some 1,500 pounds of fireworks will be placed on the barge. It will be towed into the river Friday afternoon and anchored at least 100 yards off the
Last year, the barge was bumped by a distracted yacht captain. Surrounding waters will be closed to boaters as showtime approaches at
The bowling ball-shaped shells come packed with chemicals for color and a sort of gunpowder. The biggest -- 8 inchers -- rise about 800 feet as a time-delay fuse slowly burns. They burst with a shower wider than the length of a football field, earning names like Half Moon, Brocade Crown and Red, White and Blue Strobe.
The order is random, a shell firing about every second, Kratzer said. He works as a diesel mechanic in
Such work is technical and precise. The crew must be licensed. These fireworks can't be bought in stores. Preparations are done under the watch of a
The crew fires shells from a nearby towboat. Wires run from the mortars to a box of switches. Flick a switch and the lift charge sends a shell skyward.
The annual show costs about
"It ain't cheap," said
This year, he said, organizers are still accepting donations for the show.
"Whenever you do something like this on the water, it's 10 times more difficult and 10 times more costly," he said.
"It's also 10 times more spectacle."
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