For more than two decades, the city of Addison has put on one of the best fireworks shows in the country. We look at how they do it.

1. In September, 1,500 fireworks are purchased from China. The city of Addison has a $40,000 budget. (Organizers of Dallas’ new Fair Park Fourth event won’t release the number of shells used, but claim it will be bigger.)

2. In January, delegates from the city, along with pyrotechnician Royce Trout’s staff, develop the musical score, and a four-track reel is generated for MIX 102.9, which broadcasts the soundtrack during the show. One track is linked to a computer at the launch site that uses a program designed by Trout to choreograph the show.

3. Two 48-foot trailers are lined with mortars, or pipes, and filled with the
explosive shells.

4. Tiny computers are attached to the pipes that signal the fuses to ignite by sending out a 12-volt current.

5. All flights into and out of Addison Airport are stopped at 8:30 PM to allow the trailers access to the runway.

6. Trout ensures the main computer is linked to the radio station and mans the kill switch. In the event of an emergency, he stops all fireworks from launching with the lift of his finger.

7. During the last-minute finale, more than 500 fireworks light up the sky.

8. The fireworks show can be seen from almost anywhere in the 4.4 square miles of Addison and is viewed by an estimated 350,000 people annually.


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