ALBANY, N.Y. - Crews are busy setting up for the 38th annual Fourth of July event at the Empire State Plaza on Wednesday, including the pyro-technics handling the fireworks display.
John Flanagan, the pyro-technician overseeing the fireworks show, says it takes months to prepare the annual display for the Fourth of July celebration. He says it takes about 10,000 firework shells to entertain the crowd for 33 minutes.
Alonzo Fireworks in Mechanicville have been in charge of the show for the past fifteen years. Wednesday they have unloaded the truck, cleaned off the equipment, and hammered away to make sure all mortars are in place to launch the show.
Every year Alonzo's "Explosives Team" says they try to switch things up; the biggest change this year is the firing system, setting off the show electronically from a computer. Flanagan says it will help put on a more precise show.
"In years past we have done it manually with two shooters listening to cues," said Flanagan. "This will be great because with a push of a button you sit back and watch it go."
The New York State Office of General Services announced some other changes this year to have a more "family friendly" event. Outside alcohol beverages, glass containers, or coolers will not be allowed in. Food and alcohol vendors will be on site. Kids' play areas will be on both sides of the concourse. The Family Fun Zone will be smoke and alcohol free and will feature pony rides, face painting, and bounce rides. Live music kicks off on the main stage at 4 p.m.
The fireworks show starts at 9:25 p.m.