Sun Valley rings in New Year with 10,000 fireworks
By TRAVIS PURSER
Express Staff Writer
It was a visual and aural extravaganza
For 22 minutes straight, the black powder magicians of
Pyrotecnico bombarded Sun Valleys skies with "Titanium Salutes,"
"Falling Leaves," "Brocade Crowns" and "Bees"to name a
few of the swirling, glittering, booming fireworks that exploded over Dollar Mountain on
New Years Eve.
Each "kerblam" and flash was digitally choreographed, then
synchronized, by cell phone with KECH radios broadcast of the themes to Superman,
Indiana Jones and Star Wars, as well as to Richard Wagners The
Valkyrie and other classics.
The 48-year-old owner of the New Castle, Pa.-based fireworks company,
Michael J. Fox ("I had it first, the little punk"), coordinated last weeks
setup of the 10,000 three- to 12-inch mortars, got the computer on line and made sure
setup technicians cigarettes stayed clear of the fuses.
Fox, previously the owner of a foundry, bought the onetime manufacturer
of military signal flares 20 years ago because, among other reasons, the company had won
an award for manufacturing a very low number of duds.
Since then, he has lit up the skies from the Washington Monument to
cities in China where he spends six weeks each year overseeing the manufacture of the
shells he designs.
Like a renowned chef, Fox doesnt give away many secrets. His
answer to the question, "So what gives your fireworks all those colors?" was:
How long does it take to set up Idahos biggest fireworks display
He said there was over a month of planning involved
before he even left his office back east. Then at 3 a.m. Tuesday morning, he and his 22
pyromaniacs descended like an army on Dollar.
For four days, three snowcats carried 90,000 pounds of tents,
explosives, mortars, wire, tin foil, Pepsi and pizza to Dollars Hidden Valley.
Then the delicate work began. Technicians carefully placed shells into
three banks of mortars extending out along the valleys ridges, then ran miles of
fine red wire up to command central: a PC running "Pyro Digital" software.
"Our computer doesnt care about what day it is," Fox
said, dismissing potential Y2K glitches.
Late Friday afternoon, they were ready to go.
Viewed from Sun Valley Lake, nearly a mile away, viewers agreed the
show was spectacular.
"Ooooohhhhh," said one girl, who was so overwhelmed she
stopped working on the snowman she was building.
"Yeah!" yelled a man sitting in a pickup. "Yeah! Oh,
The next day, spent workers collected 36 bags of fireworks debris,
loaded up the snowcats and cleared off the mountain.
All told, Sun Valley Co. director of marketing Jack Sibbach said local
cities, private contributors and Sun Valley Co. had laid out more than $100,000 for the
"It was a hell of a lot of work," he added.