News10's Kate Larsen goes behind the scenes of Cal Expo's firework display

3:46 PM, Jul 4, 2011   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - Two-thousand pounds of fireworks will explode over Cal Expo during the 4th of July show starting at 9:30 p.m. Monday night.

Fifteen pyroctechnic experts spent four days setting up the $50 thousand show, paid for through horse racing funds. Cal Expo's Event Coordinator, Paul Gillingham, said the show is completely automated.

"It starts with us choreographing the music for about a twenty minute show," Gillingham said. "Then that goes to a designer who actually encodes when each firework goes up and what type of firework, so that it matches the music."

Each firework shell sits at the bottom of a plastic tube, called a mortar, and launches when the fuse is lit, sparked by an electric signal.

"It's basically a paper mache sack that's filled with black powder at the bottom to expel the charge into the air and then little sacks of powder, of different kinds like phosphorous, that burn different colors," Gillingham said.

The Cal Expo gates open at 6 p.m. and a 45 piece band and color guard will provide entertainment until the fireworks display begins at 9:30 p.m. The show is free, although parking is $10 and limited reserved seating tickets are being sold online for $10.

The soundtrack to the fireworks display will be simulcast on 107.9 The End, so that anyone within viewing range of the fireworks can listen along to show.

Watch the fireworks show live on starting at 9 p.m.


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