Metro Firework Displays Take Hours To Set Up

By: Lauren Squires Email
By: Lauren Squires Email

Holiday fireworks took to the air across the metro on the 4th of July. But the preparation and set-up for most of them took hours of work, work that began in January.

“What do they got left out here to wire?” Ted Kalhoff, Regional VP of J&M Displays said.

Kalhoff was walking on the YMCA Soccer Fields in Council Bluffs, helping crews finish the set-up for Wednesday’s fireworks display.

“We are swamped this time of year. Today alone we have shows going here at Harrah’s, out at Champions Golf Course, Tiburon Golf Course, the City of Ralston. J&M, we have most of the big shows,” said Kalhoff.

And the big shows aren’t easy to set-up. He says they take 2-3 days, a lot of time and sweat, sometimes 16-17 hours days. The process involved putting explosives into tubes, then placing those tubes on wooden crates and connecting them to a cable.

“All these cables come in to one main cable that goes back to that. And that one main cable we can shoot the signals to every shell separately,” said Kalhoff.

He says the process starts in January or February.

“We pick out the music. It all runs through the computer. To see what would be the best spots to put real good accents in the music. We then tie it all together in the computer,” said Kalhoff.

He says he takes a lot of pride in creating a light show in the sky and sharing his love of fireworks with thousands of people.

“I think it's a lot better for the families to come to something like this. You know the household fireworks, I did them when I was a kid. But it's getting more and more dangerous,” said Kalhoff.

J&M has also done all the set-up in the heat. Kalhoff says they have gone through 65 cases of water in the last two weeks. They're not finished after the 4th of July. July 5th they’ll set up for the Field Club Fireworks and have the rest of baseball season to help at Werner Park.


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