The Edmond Sun

Arts & Entertainment

July 3, 2014

Company: LibertyFest fireworks will dazzle the eye

EDMOND — Pulling off a fireworks display like the LibertyFest show that will dazzle spectators Friday evening in Edmond takes a bit of effort.

There are the chemists who carefully calibrate and assemble chemicals and fuel to produce a particular effect like a red chrysanthemum spray accompanied by a powerful explosion. The rapid release of energy from a firework causes the air to expand faster than the speed of sound producing a sonic boom. And specific chemicals produce specific colors.

Levi Clark, vice president of Extreme Pyrotechnics, which has been producing the LibertyFest show the past couple of years, said domestic products added this year will produce brighter, more brilliant colors.

There’s the process of working out a firing script, which at LibertyFest includes synchronizing detonations with music. Clark said his company fine tunes the music, tries to keep it current and eclectic including country, kids songs and rock. Dial in to KUCO radio FM 90.1 for the synchronized music.

“We try to run our show like a movie, so you have highs and lows and rises and falls that kind of get you sucked into the entire program,” Clark said.

And there’s the hours spent setting up the show on site, in this case a parking lot on the University of Central Oklahoma campus. Clark said Wednesday evening about 20-25 crew members were setting up slightly more than 3,200 devices for the show.

“It’s going to be very action packed,” Clark said. “There’s over 1,200 shots in the last 45 seconds. She’s going to be colorful, she’s going to be loud and she’s going to be busy.”

As part of the set up process, the Edmond Fire Department establishes a secured perimeter based on a mathematical formula — 100 feet for every inch in the size of a shell, said Mike Barnes, the department’s fire prevention chief.

Barnes urged citizens to forgo potentially dangerous home fireworks — it’s legal to transport them within city limits, but illegal to possess, sell and discharge — and instead enjoy the LibertyFest show. The penalty for violating the city law is a $249 fine.

Barnes said the job of inspecting the display is now being done by Michael Stephens, UCO’s fire marshal-code compliance officer. Barnes and another Fire Department representative will be monitoring the show.

Oak Tree’s fireworks show is done on an open area of Oak Tree Country Club, also known as the east course. | 341-2121, ext. 108


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