So yesterday was the Fourth of July. Oregon doesn't allow very interesting fireworks... as I recall, nothing that goes up in the air and can only move around on the ground in a limited space.
Of course, many people will take a trip out-of-state to get a few more interesting devices. Having a more firework friendly state like Washington next door can certainly contribute to that.
But now, I must say that these devices just don't carry much thrill. It's like they are all just sparklers and snakes to me after this year's celebration. Why?
We got to participate in a full-size fireworks show!
Greg Hughes has been doing these shows for several years. When talk of this event came around last year, I made a note to myself to watch for Greg's call for volunteers this year. When it came, Jesann and I hurried to speak up.
This show happens up in Clatskanie, Oregon and we set up the display right next to the local treatment plant. Not the nicest place to hang out, but the wind was generally in our favor.
All told, there were nearly 400 shells to fire off. Nearly one-third of them were five-inch with the rest being four-inch. These things are big. Most of the day is spent burying the mortars and placing the shells into them.
After loading them all up, we took some time for a bit of a break. Time to go grab a bite to eat and change clothes as Jesann and I wore shorts through the day and needed to put something a bit safer (and warmer) on for the evening.
Throughout the day, Greg was providing safety tips and double checking to see who really wanted to participate in lighting the shells off. I knew that I wanted to, but Jesann was little bit apprehensive about such activity.
The show started at just about ten o'clock sharp. There were seven of us lighting and Greg rotated us in.
Once it began, it was a constant bombardment. The force that the explosions carry is amazing. Those of us who weren't currently lighting stood back about twenty to thirty feet and you could feel it quite well from there. I was the last 'newbie' to light, but that had the absolutely thrilling advantage of putting me on a long section of five inch shells.
And I thought the compression from twenty feet was noticeable. Try being right next to these things!
It is amazing how much excitement there is to having these mortars exploding less than a foot from your head.
At the beginning of the lighting, I did manage to look up and see some of the shells explode in the sky above. I soon realized, though, that I had seen that plenty of times in my life. The lighting and launching, though, was brand new.
Having spent the better part of eight hours getting the show set up, it was all blown to heck in less than half of an hour. And yes, it was very well worth it.
Greg has more details posted on his blog at the following locations:
What can I say? I'm hooked! Normal fireworks just don't carry the thrill for me anymore :).