OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — Fireworks on the Fourth of July are one of the nation's oldest and most time-honored traditions, and in the days leading up to Independence Day, a crew from Wolverine Fireworks was busy setting up for this year's show at Menominee Park in Oshkosh.
Al Everson is the Northern Wisconsin Division Manager for Wolverine and says he and his crew have been hard at work loading shells, setting up wiring and preparing for the show.
Everson says the Oshkosh show is the largest he works on and will feature well over 2,000 fireworks this year. He says the rockets his crew will launch range from three to 12 inches, can reach heights as high as 1,200 feet, and create bursts as wide as 800 feet.
While setting everything up is a difficult process, Al says the joy the show brings to people, makes it all worth it.
“We’re 10-second unknown rockstars," said Everson. "I enjoy entertaining [the spectators] and if they’re entertained and they’re enjoying it, then I’m happy that I did my job right.”
Al's son Nick Everson is a pyrotechnician for Wolverine who also helped put together this year's display. Nick explained the differences in chemical compositions and the way the shells are packed, create the varying shapes, colors and patterns of fireworks.
“Copper is for greens, titanium is for whites, stuff like that," Nick Everson explained. "Whether they pack it into a tube, whether they roll it into a ball, cut it into a square gives you different burn patterns...and then how they layer them in the shell as they build it will create different patterns in the air when it goes off.”
Nick urges those setting off their own fireworks to make sure they clear enough space.
“Distance is your biggest friend," he said. "Everyone wants to think that they need to be right on top of it, it’s going to look better if you’re a little bit farther ways. You’re gonna be a lot safer if you’re farther away…there’s no getting away from it...if it hits you you’re gonna get burned."
In addition, Al urges anyone setting off their own pyrotechnics, to keep a bucket of water handy, to help put out fires that may start accidentally.
Among the fans of the Eversons' work, are young Dallas and Noah Regland. The two come out to Menominee Park to see the fireworks with their family every year and say they're excited for the "Boom! Boom! Boom!" of this year's show. Noah says he wants to wish everyone a "Happy Fourth of July!"