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Monday, July 6, 2015

Fireworks show turns SL skies to red, white and blue

Monday, June 10, 2002

There isn't a bad seat in the house

Once again, natives and visitors to Storm Lake for the 2002 Star Spangled Spectacular July 4 will be treated to a dazzling display of sound and color against the summer night sky during the closing fireworks in Chautauqua Park.

Among the many highlights of this year's pyrotechnic spectacle, the show will honor the country's recent surge in patriotism with plenty of American red, white and blue.

"It's going to be very patriotic, and we're really looking forward to it," said fireworks organizer Orren Knoffloch, who has been in charge of arranging and shooting the display for the past 13 years. "It's going to be impressive."

The 30-minute show will begin with a miniature barrage of 10 red, white and blue shells. Throughout the show, many multiple-shot fireworks will add a new dimension to the show, as well as give the crew a short break.

"The smaller finales will allow depth to the show, as well as for the shooters to take a bit of a breather, or at least to stand back and sigh," Knoffloch said.

A grand finale consists of 164 shots with a patriotic theme.

The 12-member fireworks team will fire hundreds of shots from the $8200 arsenal of fireworks, complete with louder reports and brighter colors. New colors and features to the spectacle include "Raspberry," a deep purple hue to which Knoffloch refers to simply as "brilliant." Also new to this year's show are the strobe-like "Disco Lights," as well as the noise producing "Gunfights," and "Screaming Dragons." Not only brighter, but Knoffloch also promised a thundering show. "If people listen, they'll hear it roll all the way around the lake."

Knoffloch said that with the excitement of the show also comes the potential dangers. Because of this, he and his crew purchase their fireworks from a trusted supplier, Pyro Magic of New Carlisle, Ind.

"We utilize them because I believe in the safety of my crew," Knoffloch said. "We're dealing with highly volatile explosives, and these are some of the best around."

Members of the crew, half of which who have been involved with planning and shooting the display for at least ten years, undergo safety training with a supplier from Pyro Magic every year for certification to handle the explosives.

"The purpose of this is to ensure that everyone stays alive," Knoffloch said. "Or at least to keep their hands and fingers attached while still giving the crowd a good show."

Knoffloch said that although this year's Star Spangled Spectacular will bear even more significance since the Sept. 11 attacks, it's just another year's work for the crew of dedicated volunteers. "It's good that we have a renewed interest in patriotism, but around here, we've always had that interest."

Knoffloch said the display wouldn't be possible without the many volunteers and contributors involved, as well as the cooperation from the Storm Lake Fire Department, Department of Natural Resources, and the City of Storm Lake, who issue the crew special permits to hold the show. "They're all great," Knoffloch said.

Knoffloch encourages all to view the summer's highlight event Thursday, July 4 in Chautauqua Park.

"It's the best one around," he said. "It's an absolutely brilliant display. It's all free, and there isn't a bad seat in the house."

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