A dazzling fire and lights in the sky spectacle awaits those who Celebrate Neosho or are in the vicinity of the Hugh Robinson Memorial Airport Saturday night.
AM Pyrotechnics of Buffalo, Mo., will wrap up a full day of Celebrate Neosho activities, beginning early Saturday in Morse Park, with the action shifting to the airport in mid-afternoon.
“The national average of American made fireworks in the United States on any given show is three percent, so only three percent of the fireworks in the U.S. are American made. There’s just a small handful of manufacturers left in the U.S., and we are one of them,” said Aaron Mayfield, owner, AM Pyrotechnics.
Mayfield said because the shows AM puts on use a much greater percentage of their own product, it makes for a much better production.
He said, “There will be particular scenes of just our American made fireworks in your show, and they really stand out and look great. And you’re actually getting a shooter who is one of our manufacturing technicians. Usually fireworks companies hire shooters that really only work three or four shows a year, whereas the shooter that we have for your show is a full-time manufacturer here. So that enhances the display as well because of a more experienced shooter. You also have a choreographed fireworks display.”
He said generally companies hire someone to shoot a show without any script or pattern to follow.
“The shooter has to put the show together, and you have an inconsistency on occasion, which is something we don’t have on this show,” he said. “This is a show that is scripted out, shot-by-shot, with a definable opening and a three-stage finale, and little-bitty miniature scenes within that will be bursts of American-made stuff. So you have several things going for you that are different. You have a choreographed display that’s scripted, you have a highly-trained shooter that is trained in manufacturing, which is very rare, and you have a much greater percentage than three percent of American made fireworks on your show.”
Mayfield said the difference between American and Chinese manufactured fireworks, “Is American made fireworks have a much brighter, better color, and longer duration, they stay in the sky more, and they are more unique, they just look different.”
He said he designs all of the effects in the Chinese fireworks that AM Pyrotechnics utilizes in their shows. Mayfield said most will just order straight from a catalog, “And I design my own in the factories over there so it’s got a little more of a flair to it than most of the others.”
He cites research that explains that the human brain has a problem with the repetitive flashes and noises of a fireworks show at 23 minutes. The Neosho show will not go that long, though Mayfield said they don’t like to put a detailed time on a show.
“We want it to flow,” he said. “We want it to flow the way it flows out. The shooter is trained to shoot the fireworks at a pace to such that when one burns out another one’s on it’s way up, and we have so many variations of duration on each shell. One shell may burn for three seconds and another may burn for seven, it just depends on how the show flows, but we usually on a show your budget size try to shoot for between 15 and 20 minutes.”
Mayfield said those enjoying Celebrate Neosho will be getting a more well-rounded, choreographed display with the American colors that enhance the show.
“There’s a really nice crackling scene in your finale, and there’s a really nice white strobe flashing scene in stage three of the finale, and then there’s a great big gold scene in the finale as well,” he explained.
Mayfield said there are four separate individual scenes throughout the show and noted, “Usually people just have an opening burst, and then they just shoot random stuff and then they do the finale; and we have four miniature finale scenes throughout the show and a three stage finale and a definable opening.” He said scene four is their famous Stardust Waterfall, and promises it will be enjoyable.
In business for 15 years, Mayfield said AM Pyrotechnics has gone global.
“We shot the first computer-fired display in the Dominican Republic in 2006,” he said. “We are the most requested fireworks company to do the finale display for three of the four largest fireworks conventions in the United States; and we’re shooting two of the three finale displays for the conventions in the United States this year.”
He noted the National Fireworks Association convention will be in Branson, Mo., this September, and AM will do the display there.
Mayfield explained his life-long passion for fireworks.
“It was instilled into me by God at a young age of around 4. Something that’s always been in my being, and not the ‘boom-boom’ explosion stuff…I was always into the choreography and the colors,” he said.
The choreography of colors and explosions will light up the sky over the Hugh Robinson Memorial Airport beginning at approximately 9:45 p.m. Saturday.