By Kyle Bartholomew
Every summer, residents of Granville eagerly await the 4th of July fireworks extravaganza. This year, the fireworks show will take place on Friday, July 6 in Wildwood Park. The fireworks display is a long-standing Granville tradition, sponsored by the Granville Community Foundation and hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Granville. Every year, the event brings residents and visitors together to experience the awe-inspiring sights, sounds, and smells of the fireworks show and the village writ large. While everyone appreciates the fireworks, many may not be aware of the incredible amount of time, talent, and resources that the show takes to produce.
Supported by the Granville Community Foundation, the Kiwanis Club of Granville contracts with Rozzi Fireworks to produce the show. Rozzi is a five-generation company, the dream of one man, Paolo Rozzi, who founded the company in southern Italy in 1895 before he emigrated shortly after to Pennsylvania. In 1930, Paolo’s son, Arthur, and his two children, Joseph and Paul, relocated the company to Cincinnati, Ohio. “Why are fireworks so mesmerizing,” the Rozzi website asks. “Is it the surprise of sudden sparks? The heart-skipping beat of suspense between the first flash and the final bang of radiant color, light, and noise? Or perhaps it’s the people we watch fireworks with, the traditions of togetherness they commemorate; the passage of time, and the power of community.” In this way, Rozzi holds dear many of the same qualities we celebrate in Granville: “The work we do is hands-on, hand crafted, and incredibly detailed. We are proud to support long-time American traditions.”
Matt Bires is Granville’s local representative for Rozzi Fireworks. He has curated Granville’s show for the past several years. Matt has over 12 years of experience working with pyrotechnic shows around the state of Ohio and frequently travels the region, performing fireworks shows at a range of public events. On July 6, the Granville fireworks will start at 10 p.m. and last approximately 24 minutes. During the show, approximately 1,250 shells will light the night sky. Though the fireworks show will take less than half an hour, the choreography for the show takes nearly two days to develop and at least a day to set-up on the site. Onsite setup involves assembling pods of mortar racks (the tubes that the shells are launched from); each mortar tube holds a 6-inch, 8-pound shell. The shells are mostly hand-made or imported from Europe and create the signature colors, shapes, and patterns that we all look forward to watching light up the sky. The mortars are made of a reusable high-density plastic, which are grouped together in custom-built wood crates.
When asked about something he thought the public would be interested in knowing, Matt said he found it fascinating that the “quickmatch” (the fuse that actually lights the black powder charge that lifts the shell into the air) burns at 100 feet per second; converted into miles per hour, that equals about 68 miles per hour.
Speaking with Matt, I could hear the passion he has for the art of pyrotechnics and the excitement he has for the upcoming Granville fireworks show. It is this same passion and excitement that the Granville Community Foundation brings toward collaborating with local non-profit organizations like the Kiwanis Club of Granville for the 4th of July fireworks, a time-honored festivities we all know and look forward to each year.