JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL-TV) – Setting up for the 2017 Pepsi Independence Day Celebration continued on Monday as the music stage was put together and the loading of the shells into their tubes for the fireworks display moved forward.
Crews were out painting the giant Pepsi logo on the grass on the bank that faces the stage, which is located next to the tennis courts at Freedom Hall. Crews were piecing together the stage and lights for the musical entertainment that begins at 5 pm on July 4. There will be tons of food and several games going on in addition to the music.
“Music and food, good times, bring your family, leave your own fireworks at home. Fireworks start at 9:55 pm, rain or shine,”, Freedom Hall Box Office Manager Bobbie Shipley said, “There’s bar-be-que, there’s hot dogs, there’s pizza, any kind of food that you would want, we will have there, Pepsi products, there will be children’s games.”
In addition to leaving your own fireworks at home, it is also suggested the you leave your pets at home as dogs and other pets do not like fireworks. Also, there are no grills allow at Freedom Hall.
Johnson City Police and Fire Department as well as EMS will have a large presence at the celebration, with a command post set up near the swimming pool in case of an emergency or lost child. But it takes a lot more than just police and fire to put on this event.
Shipley added, “It takes all, it’s not just Freedom Hall, it takes the fire department, the police department, we use people from public works to help block off the streets, so there is a lot of departments, transit, there is a lot of departments that make this thing work.”
The highlight of the evening will once again be the huge fireworks display put on by Pyro Shows of La Follette, TN. They have been putting together the shows at Freedom Hall for several years. Crews arrived on Sunday and will work thru Tuesday getting everything ready for the fireworks show that is set to music.
“It’s actually a more complicated process that what people think, we shoot a twnety munite fireworks show, but it will take us three whole days to actually set up this display,”, Chris Stiner of Pyro Shows said, “When we arrive, we start setting up the racks and after setting up the racks, we start dropping the shells and you actually have to fuse each shell set up in choreograph with the music that is provided by the city.”
Each year, people from Pyro Shows travel to China to visit several different factories to get a first hand demonstration of what is new in fireworks for this year and what they will want to purchase for the over 1,000 shows that the comapny puts together each year. And every show is different.
Stiner added, “Certain cities want more patriotic, certsin cities want more hard rock, but this one is actually more patriotic music, which I like beith the 4th of July. some of my favorite parts, obviously, is the waterfall, which is a staple here, and God Bless the USA with Lee Greenwood is an awesome scene.”
There is 24 hour security provided by the city on the baseball field where the fireworks are set up. Crews take every precaution to make sure that nothing causes a problem with the show, even weather.
“The worse thing for us is the rain, the rain can slow you down twice as much. We’ve actually developed a covering system, it’s kind of like a garbage bag, but it is also fire retardent. Once we get everything put together, we put these bags on there and that protacts them from the storms or the rain that comes.”, Stiner said,
Shuttle bus service from ETSU and Winged Deer Park will begin at 5 pm and run thru 8:15 pm and then resume after the fireworks show around 10:15 pm. Fireworks begin at 9:55 pm and will be held rain or shine. It will be set to music that can be heard on WXBQ-FM 96.9.
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