Seafair Fourth of July show to feature 10,000 pounds of fireworks

The Seafair fireworks show will once again light up the skies above Lake Union on Fourth of July. 

Crews were busy prepping 10,000 pounds of fireworks on a barge Sunday to get ready for the Independence Day celebration Monday.  We took a boat to the barge Sunday afternoon in order to get an inside look at how those crews were getting the fireworks ready for the big night.   

"There’s tens of thousands of individual shots that are going to be going off," said David Fitzgibbon, Lead Pyrotechnician for Western Display Fireworks. "We have over 10,000 lbs of fireworks on the barge that is getting loaded in."      

Fitzgibbon said his team was dodging raindrops on the barge Sunday and trying to keep everything dry.  He says this year the crowd will see new colors in the display. 

"This year, over 50% of the show is American made product. That is all brand-new stuff," said Fitzgibbon. "It’s like super bright pinks and blood orange colors and aqua’s, and different colors you haven’t seen before."  

Where to watch fireworks in western Washington this 4th of July

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, most cities are having full, in-person celebrations for the Fourth of July, including fireworks displays. 

He says it's usually a two to three day set up for a show as large as the Seafair celebration. Fitzgibbon says he'll use a control panel to set the fireworks off and will monitor them from a plywood shed on the barge.   

Mark Boyer of Oregon, an electrician working on the team, showed us a 10-inch shell with a body the size of a basketball.  

"This is a Vulcan shell we lower it down with this twine," said Boyer. 

He says the set-up requires hard work, but the payoff is very rewarding. 

"There is really nothing like the rush when you hear the last shell go off, and you hear the crowd.  It makes it all worth it, all the work," said Boyer.  

Safety tips for setting off fireworks this summer

As Independence Day approaches next month, it's important to keep in mind some basic safety tips when setting off fireworks.

Fitzgibbon says he's especially excited to be back in action after the slow-down due to COVID.  

"We went form 480 shows down to like 20, that year, literally it died, but this year everybody's been calling us," said Fitzgibbon. "We actually had to turn some cities down."  

The team says the fireworks are expected to be set up and ready to go at around noon Monday.

"We are going to be filling the sky, both sides, up, down, all the way," said Fitzgibbon.  "We are super excited to be back."