Pyrotechnics firm visits Rushmore

Leslie Silverman

Little is being shared with the public about the return of Independence Day fireworks; however, pyrotechnics experts have completed a site evaluation.

“We have conducted a site survey and were very excited to have a plan that we feel is very responsible to put on a spectacular performance while keeping in mind being sensitive to the environmental aspects involved in the forest and everything that is involved in doing a show at a National Park and a very special memorial here,” said Kevin Gilfillan, General Manager of Pyro Spectaculars, a California based firm.

Gilfillan and his crew spent a week touring the monument and becoming familiar with the site specific needs of this endeavor.

“It’s very special,” Gilfillan said. “It’s really wonderful to connect with all the people we have. We’ve got state, we’ve got parks, we’ve got federal and local aspects.”

Gilfillan was very closed-mouthed about the display and offered little specifics on the actual event.

“It’s definitely going to be very different from the previous displays that have happened,” he said. “We’re really excited to be a part of the project.”

The crew spent a few days at a Rapid City hotel before relocating to a local Keystone property.

This was Gilfillan’s first time visiting the monument.

“It was a very special moment in my life,” he said. “To approach it and to see it the first time driving in and walking up. To have an opportunity to go up and do a site survey for the show was among the top two or three career moments of my life. We are extremely excited to be a part of this project. We have a highly specialized crew. We have a team of highly professional and skilled ropes people. A very monumental effort that’s going on. I feel really good that all the entities we are talking to are taking the whole picture very seriously.”

According to its website, Pyro Spectaculars has been operating in Sacramento, Calif., since 1979 and “provides turnkey pyrotechnic, cryogenic, flame, confetti, and multimedia entertainment to the Sacramento area.” The company is committed to using “the finest resources in the industry to provide a safe, cost-efficient, and, well… spectacular fireworks show each time, every time, all the time.”

The Sacramento firm puts on fireworks displays for the city’s New Years event, the Sacramento River Cats and the Lights on the Lake, Lake Tahoe event. The Sacramento office is one of several offices nationwide for the 42-year old company. The family-run company “stages over 400 shows on the 4th of July including the nation’s largest display, the Macy’s Extravaganza in New York City, as well as hallmark spectaculars in Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Hawaii.”

Once a contract is in place, the crew plans on spending a few weeks in the area in mid to late June.

At press time there was no contract in place and repeated attempts to confirm Pyro Spectaculars involvement with the project were not returned by the of state or Mount Rushmore National Memorial officials.

In other fireworks related news, the state has conducted a parking logistics meeting that included Keystone. The town will be forming a fireworks committee for planning and logistical purposes.

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