Posted by: LucidMystery | October 5, 2008

Lighting Up the Sky



Let me start off by saying that my allegience still lies with Red, White, and Boom. Boom is annual, whereas the event I’m about to describe is a once-every-hundred-years kind of deal. Ok, disclaimer is done 🙂


So Pittsburgh is celebrating its 250th anniversary this month. Two and a half centuries ago, Fort Pitt once sat where the city is now, and in it’s day, Fort Pitt was a key player in the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, and it even played a role in the Civil War.  A tiny building on the Point is all that’s left of Fort Pitt, but now we have a booming metropolis instead. And well, it’s a partying metropolis tonight!

I was lucky enough to get to see the immense fireworks display tonight, and I can honestly say I have never seen an equal! I remember some of the crazy fireworks on the millenium New Years, but those are the only rivals. And maybe China’s display at the Olympics was pretty up there (well, considering the Chinese invented fireworks, uh, they better be good) So, ok let’s say, in person, I’ve never seen better!

For all the Ohioans reading this, here’s a quick rundown of Pittsburgh geography; that will make my description make more sense. So the city sits on top of the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers. The Point is where the two rivers make the Ohio. I was sitting just north of the Point on the Allegheny side of the rivers.

Ok, mental maps all made? Probably not since your description came from me, but you got it close enough. Ok, so when Red, White, and Boom goes off, there’s a ton of fireworks for about 25 minutes being set off from one location. From where I was sitting tonight, I could see clearly five different locations (two on the point, one on the Mon, one on the Allegheny, and one on the West End Bridge over the Ohio River.) Each location seriously set off the equivalent to RW and B. There were tons of gorgeous fireworks in every imaginable color! And since the locations were so spread out, I could see these giant, fiery flowers in the sky everywhere I turned my head! And several of the skyscrapers set off several rockets too!

And the finale…whew! Let me tell you about the finale! First of all, even though it was 10:30 at night, the explosions all around the crowds made everything bright as day! Huge golden “weeping willows” (as I like to call them) completely covered the skies while jets of bright, swirling cracklers shot off in all different directions. The noise was so intense, I could feel a continuous rumbling under my feet and in my head. Then, it was like flares of every color were flying up all around above the waters. They mixed in with the jets and the weeping willows while adding the insane level of noise. The West End Bridge looked like a waterfall of sparklers, and the Point was flashing light and streaming smoke. The skyscrapers were shooting little colorful flares up as well, and the light was shimmering off the glass windows on the sides of the buildings. It really was a spectacle like none other!

I just love fireworks! As a little kid, my family always went to see the Westerville fireworks every 4th (and we’re talking years pre-Otterbein, isn’t that crazy?), and of course I’ve been a fan of Red, White, and Boom. Also, whenever my family went to Disney World, we would always watch the fireworks set off with Cinderella’s Castle sitting dreamily in the background. I have to admit, I totally bought into all the cheese of the moment as soon as “When You Wish Upon a Star” began playing from every speaker in the park. Even as senior in high school, I thought it was magic. If I went back today, I would probably think the same thing. And I’ve always harbored a secret wish to play Tinker Bell when she flies over the castle to start the fireworks. Well, I guess it’s not a secret anymore 😉

Tonight’s fireworks just added to my love of the crazy exploding lights. Sometimes when I watch the displays, I think of the history they are alluding back to. Yeah, I do sing the national anthem in my head “And the rocket’s red glare….the bombs bursting in air…” or I try to think what all those people in history would think if they could see what was going on today. What would the Revolutionary soldiers have thought if they could have seen a glimpse of Americans 250 years later celebrating the founding of a city that barely existed then? Heck, Americans didn’t really exist to Revolutionaries. So what a surprise that glimpse would be! I wonder if someday in the future, people will set off fireworks for something that I will have seen in my lifetime.  Who knows.

Oh fireworks. They’re so fun to watch! They’re loud, they’re bright, they’re shiny–basically everything my closet ADD-self needs! And then from my perspective, they inspire hope, prod me to reflection, and encourage the imagination. Not to go all Gershwin on y’all, but who could ask for anything more?


btw, this pic is actually from 4th of July 2007 in Pittsburgh, so just picture 5 of those going off all around you.

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