Tag Archives: Pyrotechnics



Easter 2019 is almost upon us and as here in the UK we celebrate with Egg hunts, chocolate and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, in Florence, they celebrate a little differently…… with fireworks!!

Now one of Europe’s grandest Easter spectacles, the ceremony dates to the time of the crusades and celebrates the brave deed by Florentine Pazzino. According to the local tradition, Pazzino was the first to climb the walls of Jerusalem and raise the Christian banner above the holy city in July 1099. This brave deed won him respect among his comrades and his commander and he was rewarded with two shards of stone from the Holy Sepulchre. These shards were later used to start an annual “Holy Fire” during Holy Week, this ritual fire would be carried through the city as a religious relic.

Scoppio del Carro

From then on started the tradition of the scoppio de carro (explosion of the cart) and by the middle ages where the flame was carried by a single cart. By the 15th century, this has grown into the fantastic structure that you will see today and is now pulled by white oxen dressed in flowers and foliage from the first of the spring plants. Accompanying the cart, a procession of Florentines officials, clergy, drummers, flag throwers and a marching band all dressed in historical costumes. The procession begins at the Porto al Prato and then moves onto to the main stage of Piazza del Duomo where all the action happens.

Just before 11am during mass in the Duomo the bells ring out from the church for 10 minutes solid. After this time a rocket shaped as the dove of peace is lit and sent on its flight from the altar out into the square. As the holy fire of the dove hits its mark on the cart, the gunpowder loaded cart is set alight and smoke billows and flashes of light and sparks begin to erupt from inside. the anticipation of the crowd that has gathered outside builds as the dove has to complete its journey both ways smoothly to ensure a good omen and ensures a good crop for the season.

The fireworks blast out for over 20 minutes producing a magnificent display, if you fancy celebrating Easter differently then head along to the Scoppio del Carro, you won’t be disappointed.



Here in the UK annually on November the 5th we are all aware that bonfire night is known for remembering Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators, the gunpowder plot and yeah, of course, you have guessed it fireworks.

Bonfire night, otherwise known as Guy Fawkes night or fireworks night has become synonymous with the setting off fireworks on this date to remember, remember the 5th of November as the day the gunpowder plot was foiled, and king James and hundreds were saved from being killed.

Fireworks were not originally a part of the celebrations, but they grew in popularity and as pyrotechnics became more widely available in the early 19th century, they became the mainstay of the celebrations. Nowadays, thousands each year celebrate with parties and fireworks of their own or attend an organised event at a local pub or club. Here’s a quick look into the Guinness World Records set in recent years. Here are the top 10 biggest and most explosive records achieved to date:


This waterfall was ignited on the 23rd August 2008 at the Ariake Seas Fireworks Festival I Fukuoka, Japan. On completion, the waterfall effect was 3,517.23 m 11,539ft 5 inches and was based on and given the name….. you guessed it Niagara Falls. After this there was a huge shell sent above just to mark the occasion.


The daring man who gained this title is known as Mazuel Laurent Nat in Grenoble France on 13th June 2014. The total was 642 individual fireworks launched. Of course, our very own friend and mad inventor Colin Furze created his own ‘safety suit’ which was on display in our showroom until very recently.


Measuring in at 32.044m (105ft 1.56in) the great wheel was made and constructed by Lilly Fireworks Factory in Mqabba, Malta on the 18th June 2011. It was freestanding and when it was lit and managed to do 4 revolutions under its own propulsion – a supersized spectacular for all to see.


This was achieved in London 2013 – 2014 new year’s eve display, the first of its kind with over 50,000 spectators not only seeing the different coloured fireworks but also been able to smell and taste fruity flavours from them. There was peach snow, apple, cherry and strawberry mist and scratch and sniff handouts created by food scientists Bompas and Parr There was a great response from everyone about the colours and flavours of each one including the edible banana confetti.


Another record was smashed in New Year’s eve 2015 in Kiev, Ukraine by 28 year old Yuriy Yaniv. He made the largest sparkler candle ever. The monster candle consisted of 10,000 sparklers bound together in a ceramic pot filled with cardboard, dirt and kitchen foil. The weight of the sparkler candle was 50kg (110 pounds) and once lit the sparks created a giant tower covering 2m.

The number of sparklers used in the project if lit individually would have burned for around 48 hours nonstop. Now that is what we call a mammoth sparkler!!


Even in the rain, there was no stopping the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ in the Philippines), enjoying the largest fireworks display during the countdown to the 2016 New Year Celebrations. It was here, on 1 January 2016, using over 810,000 fireworks and lasting 1 hour 1 min and 32.35 seconds this New Year’s Eve party went on in epic style. This was not the only record they smashed that night as they also picked up one for the most sparklers lit simultaneously (938) and the longest line of lit sparklers (891).


This had to be one for the pyrotechnicians due to the sheer volume of pyro, distances and the size of the operation. The World Island resort in Dubai shows a map of the world from the manmade islands. The fireworks were positioned strategically to ensure that each of the land masses making up the earth were shown perfectly with the light of the fireworks.


On the same evening in Dubai there were even more extravagant effects to be had when the New Year celebrations got underway as they firmly established themselves as the biggest and best as 479,651 shells were fired in just 6 minutes which equates to 79,941 fireworks per minute putting them into the record books.


Again, the award goes to Dubai and the New Year’s Eve celebrations.

This display was a winner from the outset being stages from the World’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. The fireworks display erupted from all sides and top of the building with more than 1.6 tonnes of fireworks released in under 10 minutes.


The gargantuan shell was fired from a mortar tube and reached a height of around 2975 feet and measured 2454 feet in diameter. It was fired on the 9th September 2014 and was launched at the Japanese Katakai-Matsuri Festival in Honshu, Japan.

Annually nowadays, there is a festival which still continues to strive for excellence in the field of super-sized shells.

So there you have it, some of the biggest and best in the World today but they all have one thing in common, they are all pyro lovers.


Pyrotechnics Guild International 2015

WHAT: Pyrotechnics Guild International 2015
WHEN: Sunday 9th to Friday 14th August 2015
WHY: It’s a pyrotechnics convention
THEME: “Wyoming Fireworks Showdown”
WHERE: Cam-Plex Multi Event Facility, Gillette, Wyoming

The guild was founded in 1969 by Max P Van der Horck who wanted to encourage the display of both public and private display fireworks to the masses. He also wanted the industry to remove the shroud of secrecy it is surrounded by and share the knowledge to those in power, like the political elite and the general public alike so that the use of fireworks was not lost forever. They need to ensure that safety is a priority and that the gathered energies of so many like-minded people actually get a voice and allow creativity to flow providing ideas and suggestions by the bucket load.

If you check back over time, it is surprising how often fireworks have been used around the globe but essentially, since the Americas were discovered, there have always been displays for one reason or another.

The guild has around 3500 members who range from the hobbyist all the way up to the hard-core technicians and everyone learns from one another.

The event is an opportunity for attendees to visit workshops and seminars on construction of pyrotechnics for everything from a little garden fountain all they way up to a huge 24 inch shell creation. There are classes for attendees to be certified as professional firers – the USA’s Display Operators Course DOC is equivalent to our BPA British Pyrotechnic Association certification. Safety briefings, how to make fireworks more environmentally friendly and everything in between.

There will be four display nights which are as follows:

Sunday 9th August 2015 Zambelli Fireworks Display and Passfire (a firework documentary from Jeremy and Jesse Veverka).

Tuesday 11th August 2015 Pyro FX Display and Casabella Fireworks.

Wednesday 12th August 2015 Hollywood Pyrotechnics.

Friday 14th August 2015 All Star Showcase – this is a composite display featuring cross company products.

Finale – To Be Announced.

Because this event appeals to a wide range of people from the young lad wanting to learn more for his chemistry test to the consummate professionals like the Zambellis, who are to fireworks what the Kennedy’s were to the US’s political history, there is something for everyone. During the writing of this blog, I had to check into some details about the Zambelli’s and checking out their photo gallery is awesome. They (as in one or other of the family members over the last century or so!) have met and in many cases fired for the last 9 presidents including as mentioned the Kennedy’s both Bush senior and junior, the Carters, the Reagan’s, the Pope, the Prime Minister and most of the heads of state across the world.

As there is entertainment on throughout for the children young and old alike, you need to be aware that absolutely NO outside food is permitted on the site due to the huge number of concessions about.

So, if you are connected to fireworks, whether in the industry as a firer or a retailer, this is just the ticket with days packed to the rafters with pyro. Collectors can pick up some unique ephemera and if you can’t resist getting involved (we know … a couple of days and you have to touch some!) there are lots of ‘volunteer’ opportunities as they set up mega strings of firecrackers (last event more than 3 million!) as ‘firing crew’ for one or other of the teams showcasing their abilities.

Previous visitors have said that this is a must do experience for anyone connected with pyro and it is a truly family orientated event. The organisers will even arrange accommodation for you and the family in a camper van (think Winnebago/Walter White rather than VW Camper/Scooby Doo).

Here’s a cool video below from the Grand Public Display shot by Wolverine Fireworks Display, Inc. at the 2014 Pyrotechnics Guild International held in Mason City, IA.

Wolverine PGI Grand Public Display 2014 from Veverka Bros. Productions on Vimeo.

We will naturally bring you images as soon as they are available and in the meantime have a boomtiful day.