San Angelo's July 3 Fireworks Will Be Quite a Show

 

SAN ANGELO, TX — This year, San Angelo's July 3 fireworks tradition promises to be the biggest yet. The sky over downtown San Angelo will light up with one of the largest, most innovative pyrotechnics displays to date.

The fireworks are the centerpiece of the annual event, now in its fourth year, called the A Star-Spangled Banner Concert & Fireworks. The event is centered at the Bill Aylor Memorial RiverStage, located downtown at 16 E. Avenue A, next to the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts at 1 Love St.

Greg Schaatt of Master Displays, Ltd. designs and executes the show. This is his third year designing the display. Schaatt previously designed the original pyrotechnics for the San Angelo Rodeo, where he was featured in the video "Behind the Big Bang at San Angelo Rodeo," produced in April 2020.

    For the first year of the Star-Spangled event, San Angelo's own Ken Landon produced the show with great success, continuing his legacy from many years of the San Angelo Symphony's Pops Concert. Following Landon's passing in 2021, Schaatt, also known as "Fly," was engaged to continue the tradition. Organizers and donors aimed for a top-tier show, adding new features and effects each year, and Schaatt has delivered.

      Fireworks
       

      Promoted as "The Largest Fireworks Display in San Angelo's History," organizers San Angelo LIVE! and Downtown San Angelo, Inc. face the challenge of making each year's display bigger, longer, and more unique.

      The 2024 fireworks performance will last approximately 20 minutes. The first rocket will launch during the finale of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture," performed by the San Angelo Community Band from the RiverStage. Civil War-era cannons from Fort Concho, positioned in Neff's Park across the Concho River, will punctuate the opening moments of the fireworks.

        The initial volley in 2023

        The initial volley in 2023

        New this year, the display will feature Water Cakes, creating an effect described as "burning on the water," moving up the river from Celebration Bridge behind the RiverStage. New smoke shells will add more body and depth to the display. The most notable addition this year is the Howitzer Barrage, fireworks with between 140 and 180 shots that ascend and split repeatedly, akin to a B-52 bomb bay full of cluster bomb munitions, except the microbursts ascend upward, not down. The barrage will also feature loud audible effects.

        "I think audible sounds add so much to a show. You'll hear bangs, crackles, and whistles. Sound is another dimension for the audience," Fly said.

        This year's fireworks will cost organizers around $2,000 per minute, rising to $4,000 per minute for the finale.

        The fireworks will begin at 9:22 p.m., about 30 minutes after sunset.

        A concert will precede the fireworks, featuring the San Angelo Community Band, comprised of local musicians. Opening for the band will be Rita Capuchina & Kevin Collins of San Angelo, followed by a short set from the popular local band called Take 2, who will return for a full show after the fireworks as hosts of the afterparty sponsored by Shannon Health. Our own 340th District Judge Jay Weatherby is a member of Take 2. The party will end by 11:30 p.m.

        General admission to the RiverStage is free. VIP seating at tables on the stage floor is available by purchasing a table for eight. This year, up to 20 cabanas with 12 VIP tickets each are available behind the stage, offering the best view of the fireworks and the "burning on the water" effect.

        VIPs will enjoy complimentary hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and hotdogs made with fresh meats from Sklenarik's Smoked Meats in Miles, along with complimentary drinks from sponsors Coors, Modelo, and Twisted Tea.

        Last year, 600 VIPs enjoyed the show up close. To combat the heat, EquipmentShare, at 933 W 19th St., will provide swamp coolers on the RiverStage floor.

        The event's organizers aim for everyone in San Angelo to benefit from the fireworks display, which should be visible throughout the downtown area. Last year, police estimated that 15,000 people attended the celebration downtown.

        To be in the middle of the action, a VIP table or cabana is the best option. Tables and cabanas can be purchased on StubWire.

        Here is the growing list of sponsors. Additional sponsors are welcome and will be featured prominently on the San Angelo LIVE! 360-view video presentation on the RiverStage (call (325) 340-1238). The event will include speakers and video screens on the front and back of the stage. Ener-Tel will rebroadcast the entire show the next morning on all San Angelo LIVE! platforms — Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and SanAngeloLIVE.com. The list so far:

        The aftermath in 2023

        The aftermath in 2023

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