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Thousands gather to watch one of the greatest fireworks shows in the US

Addison, Texas, was expecting a half-million people to come enjoy its July Fourth extravaganza.
A fan watches a Fourth of July fireworks display after a baseball game
Posted at 3:43 PM, Jul 04, 2024

Fireworks on the Fourth of July are as old as the country itself. And according to the American Pyrotechnics Association there could be as many as 16,000 firework displays dazzling the skies this Independence Day.

That includes Chad Stanley's nationally recognized "Kaboom Town" fireworks show in Addison, Texas, just outside Dallas.

Stanley has been working on this show for more than a decade and says you can't focus on the length of time.

"It is one 24-minute show, but it's 24 minutes for every person that's watching that. So when you divvy that up, it's not a lot of work for a lot of people," he said.

Arranging the show requires plenty of elbow grease. Stanley and his team individually place more than 4,000 shells in fiberglass pipes.

But make no mistake, despite the hands-on start, the show is a high-tech operation.

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"The database knows how long the e-match takes to fire, how long that shell takes to fire, how long it takes to get to the air and do whatever it needs to do before it blossoms," he said.

Stanley says computer-operated firing is the industry standard now, and he knows why.

"You get a lot of control from the computer firing the show that you don't get with the hand fire. It's not like when you're a kid, you know, light the fuse and run away. You stand there, and you light the fuse, and then you light the one next to it, that's just a couple feet away — and that's an experience, to say the least," he said.

Addison was expecting a half-million people to come enjoy its July Fourth extravaganza.

The celebration includes a concert, air show and dozens of vendors, but Stanley's fireworks are the main attraction.

"For us, our favorite shell is always the last one, and that just means the show went off without a hitch and everybody got to see what they came for," he said.