Jul 2, 2012

Rose Bowl prepares for `bigger and better' show

Lauren Gold - SGVN - July 02, 2012


PASADENA - Crews began setting up and loading the canons Monday for this year's Rose Bowl Americafest, which touts itself as the largest fireworks show in Southern California. Pyro Spectaculars' Paul Souza, the show's producer, said this year's fireworks will be "bigger and better" than ever before in the show's 86-year history.

He said there will be plenty of new effects including more traditional in-stadium fireworks and innovative additions like the "red, white and blue magic ghost" shell.

Souza said he gets his inspiration straight from the source.

"I go to China every year just to find something new," Souza said.

He added that the majority of the show's fireworks are hand crafted by 10 different manufacturers in China.

Pyro Spectaculars by Souza, wiring fireworks
test that took place on at Brookside Golf
Course Monday, adjacent to the Rose Bowl.
Pyro Spectaculars by Souza will be shooting
over 5,000 shells at this years Fourth of July
annual Americafest Rose Bowl Fourth of July
celebration. (SGVN/Photo by Walt Mancini)


Souza, a fifth generation pyrotechnician whose family originally immigrated from Portugal, said he is grateful to be such an integral part of the U.S. Independence Day tradition.

"Fireworks put smiles on everyone's faces," he said. "No matter who you are, everybody loves fireworks."

Despite the Rose Bowl's current renovations, Pyro Spectaculars spokesman James Chisum said stadium officials wanted to make sure the show continued.

"This is the longest running fireworks show and celebration in Southern California so we wanted to keep the tradition going in the 86th year, and Pyro Spectaculars has been a big part of that," he said.

All fireworks are illegal in Pasadena, and violators could face fines up to $50,000 and cause injury or fires. Officials suggest residents go to a professional show instead.

"`Safe and Sane' fireworks are neither," said James Weckerle of the Pasadena Fire Department. "Go to a show and remember that if you must buy your own fireworks, use them in the city where you bought them."

General admission tickets to Americafest are $13, children 7 and under are free. Parking is $20 per car payable at the parking lots. To purchase tickets, call 800-745-3000 or go to www.ticketmaster.com. Opening ceremonies begin at 7:15 p.m. and the fireworks show begins at 9:05 p.m.

Locals can expect sun and temperatures in the low 80s Wednesday, with some possible morning clouds that will burn off, said Mike Woofford of the National Weather Service. Evening temperatures will be in the low 70s.

Pasadena City Hall will be closed Wednesday, as will the Pasadena Public Library. The U.S. Postal Service will not be in service on July 4, and all local post offices will be closed.