Tough work for crew who sets up fireworks show

By Hatzel Vela  bio | email | Twitter

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - On a day when many are out celebrating, Ed Williams and his crew work a ten-hour day.

It was around 7:30 a.m. Sunday, when Williams drove an orange Budget truck to the pier of the USS Yorktown.

The truck was packed with close to 300 racks, which are later used to hold the fireworks shell.

Williams works for Bay Fireworks, who sets up the show at Patriot's Point, called one of the best by the New York Times.

And Williams will tell you it's one of the toughest to set up.

The crew starts down on the pier, unloading and then lifting fireworks to the flight deck where they're once again unloaded and then everything is laid out.

"It does make for a long day but what gives us our thrill is listening to that crowd when we do a good job and they hoot and holler at the end of the show," said Williams, a Summerville resident who has been shooting fireworks for 16 years.

This year's fireworks show, which lasted 19-minutes and forty-two-seconds, was different.

It was electronically wired electronically, as opposed to being hand-lit.

Williams said it gives his guys more control as far as time is concerned.

Bay Fireworks is charged with setting up the show, which is designed and built three months earlier in New York.

The show is designed to the music organizers want to hear.

"Whatever length the music is, is the length that the show is. So as they design it, they go through the music and strategically place certain shells in certain spots and we take it from there," Williams said.

Of course, the background and setting helps enhance the show.

"You've got the Charleston Harbor behind us. You also have the brand new bridge and it just makes for a beautiful evening," said Williams, who has been working the Patriot's Point show four years.

Jerry Allen decided he and his family would watch a different fireworks show.

They arrived at North Charleston's Riverfront Park after noon so they could get good spots.

"This is closer to home, which is up in Ladson. And the area is more convenient for us and you get a better display of the fireworks," Allen said.North Charleston city workers have spent the last six months planning the day-long July 4th Celebration that included music, food and entertainment for the kids.

"We just get out here and have blast with everyone and I think all our vendors feel the same way," said Lisa Reynolds, one of the organizers.

Between 8,000 and 12,000 people were expected at the park, which is in the Old Navy Base.

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