Thanks to a project being done by the IUP
Center for Media Production and Research for the American Pyrotechnics
Association (APA), Mack Park will be the site
of a special October 31 Halloween fireworks event and the first Indiana Lions Club
In 2012, the APA approached the IUP Center for Media Production and Research
about creating a new safety video for APA. The APA leadership decided to take
the safety video one step farther and to offer a “fireworks spectacular” for
the community, free of charge, while IUP student videographers document best
safety practices of the setup and execution of a fireworks show.
“The APA’s willingness to turn the
project into a special community fireworks show then grew into a charity event
organized by the Indiana Lions Club, the Fun Fest,” Mark Piwinsky, Department of Communications Media chair, said. Donations to attend the event benefit the
United Way of Indiana County and Lions charitable programs.
About 20 Communications Media students
and faculty will be involved in filming the event with 10 cameras covering all
angles of the fireworks show, from ground shots to aerials. Filming began
Tuesday, with students following pyrotechnic crews from truck loading to show set
up to clean up. “We’ll have cameras all
over town,” Piwinksy said.
Many other IUP students have been
involved in the pre-production of the safety video and will be involved in the
post-production and editing of the final product, slated to be completed by
The project has given students a chance
to participate in the technical aspect of producing a professional video
project as well as the opportunity to work behind the scenes of a community
fundraising event. Many of the Communications Media students have been working
on the promotional and logistics aspects of coordinating the Fun Fest in cooperation
with the Lions Club. Students have created promotional video ads, radio ads, and
posters for the event.
The Fun Fest begins at 3:00 p.m. with a
car show featuring antique cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Lions Club member Jerry Boucher (Jerry B)
will be playing oldies from 3:00–7:00 p.m. Hiram and the Walkers will take the
stage at 7:00 p.m. Concessions stands with refreshments also will be part of the
event. Candy makers Boyer and Blair have donated candy for children. The
fireworks show will begin around 8:30 p.m.
The APA, a nonprofit organization with
membership of more than 240 professional fireworks companies worldwide, has had
safety videos in the past. However, the
last video on this topic was produced in 1995, and with the advent of more
sophisticated, software-generated fireworks over the years, the safety
procedures, terminology, and government regulations have changed, APA Executive
Director Julie Heckman said. “We
needed to get into the 21st century,” she said.
safety video is intended as an internal training program for pyrotechnic industry
professionals and others, including local fire departments, who are involved in
the permitting and inspecting of fireworks display sites.
In fact, anyone who is involved with
pyrotechnics will be offered the opportunity to see the video, Heckman said,
from the people who transport them to government officials who regulate them.
“This [video] will be in front of a lot of eyes.”
The APA has
expressed an interest in doing followup videos with the university, which
might include more specific topics, such as indoor pyrotechnic displays or
transportation of fireworks.
For example, the transportation of
fireworks requires certain very specific procedures, such as the proper
placement inside the truck in order to avoid shifting and potential hazards on
the highway. Trucks must be properly marked with the necessary hazard signs, and
drivers must confirm their arrival once they have arrived at their destination.
Starfire Corporation of Carrolltown,
which recommended IUP for APA’s video project and provides fireworks for the
local Fourth of July event, got the Indiana Lions Club involved in the event
and have been working on the Fun Fest.
Starfire co-owner Vince Terrizzi, Jr. said
as planning progressed on the video, everyone agreed that it would be a lot
more fun to have an actual show. “It was like taking a kid to the candy factory
and not letting him have it,” he said.
Starfire, which is a family-owned
company that manufactures, transports, and displays fireworks, has provided
Indiana’s Fourth of July fireworks for more than 30 years. However, Terrizzi said the fall event
promises to be even bigger and better than the Fourth of July.
“Six other fireworks display companies
have also volunteered their products and services for the event, making it an
unprecedented local fireworks display. It’s been a great effort by all,” he
Pyrotechnics companies from all across
the country, including American Fireworks, Hudson, Ohio; Zambelli Fireworks,
New Castle, Pa.; Pyrotecnico, New Castle, Pa.; Bay Fireworks, Long Island, N.Y.; and
American Fireworks Manufacturing Displays, Utica, N.Y., have volunteered their
products and services for the event. “Everyone wanted to roll up their sleeves
and donate to the community,” Heckman said. “It’s going to be a great show!”
In addition to the APA members and the
Boyer and Blair candy companies, sponsors for the event include the Indiana
County Fair Board and the Mack Park Foundation.
The fireworks show will go on
regardless of rain; however, in case of high winds, the show may be cancelled.