Pyro crews prepare fireworks to light up the skies above Portlan - KPTV - FOX 12

Pyro crews prepare fireworks to light up the skies above Portland

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Crews were setting up for one of the biggest fireworks displays in Oregon Tuesday as they prepared the pyrotechnics going off in the heart of downtown Portland over the Blues Festival.

The show is being put on by a local fourth-generation company based in Canby called Western Display Fireworks.

Crews were hard at work Tuesday preparing two barges of fireworks – one for the Oaks Park show and another for the Portland Blues Festival.

It takes a lot of work to make the sky come alive. Before any 4th of July fireworks light up the night over downtown Portland, Eugene Horvath and his crew have to get them ready.

It’s a job that takes the 12-person crew two full days to prepare. There are ground cakes, modular fans, mortars and everything else needed for a spectacular 23-minute show made up of thousands of fireworks.

They’re all meticulously placed, ordered by number, and wired together into a circuit board. It takes years of training and experience to get it just right.

“When we hit a switch, it sends an electronic ignition all the way down the yellow line and it comes into the end of one of these blasting caps,” Horvath explained.

2017 will be Horvath’s 23rd year on the crew. He’s in charge of the Blues Festival show and will be behind a safety bunker firing all the shots on the barge.

“So I get to listen to the music, and I get to listen to a cue, and I think it’s someone with an Australian accent telling me when to shoot the different shots, so it’s ‘Fire 1, Fire 2, 3,4, 5,’” he said.

That all leads up to the finale - a four stage crescendo celebrating the nation’s independence. It’s a lot of work, and a little crazy, but Horvath said he wouldn’t spend the 4th of July any other way.

“The fourth and final stage, we’ll have about 300 or 400 shells shooting off in about 10 seconds in the air,” he explained. “That’s when you get to hear the roar of the crowd and you know that you did a good job and people actually got to see and taste a piece of the 4th of July. That’s what it’s all about.”

Those watching the show will want to make sure they have their radio on since the fireworks are all synched to music on 101.9.

After all the effort that goes into the display, the crew’s work still isn’t done. They have to disassemble everything Tuesday night because the barges housing the mortars go back into regular service Wednesday morning.

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