If you love fireworks, you NEED to put Winter Blast on your bucket list!
Winter Blast is the annual convention of the Western Pyrotechnic Association where the members learn to build shells and rockets and safely handle hazardous materials during the day and then blow up things every night from 5 pm to 10:30 pm. Fireworks vendors bid for the opportunity to present nightly featured choreographed shows of 20-30 minutes, simulcast over local radio for those sitting around the desert hillsides. You owe it to yourself to arrive early and get a seat right in front of the racetrack where the action begins.
Winter Blast is always held in Lake Havasu City’s SARA Park over Presidents’ Weekend. In honor of their 25th Anniversary, the public displays were extended an extra day this year. Attendance on Thursday and Sunday nights, while good, were not as big as the shows on Friday and Saturday nights. On those days you had better have your seat in the bleachers or your folding chair positioned by 3 or 4 in the afternoon for the 7:30 pm shows or you don’t get in.
VIDEOS AND MORE VIDEOS… Play when you have a good signal! To see the videos larger, clicked the [Full Screen] button on the lower right corner of the YouTube screen.
Over the years we have come to like special effects. Among our favorites are the “gas bombs” that normally catch everyone by surprise. You definitely feel the heat. (Length: 0:52)
It is difficult to capture the beauty and the sounds of fireworks displays of this quality. I will try to leave you with a few special minutes of videos I managed to capture on my phone camera. Sorry for the shakiness. You can provide your own Ooooos and Awwwwws. The links are to my YouTube account where the videos have been uploaded.
Sitting close to the raceway infield you cannot truly capture more than a screen full of the action at once. You are constantly watching the ground and the skies above you in all direction. (Length: 2:11)
FIREWORKS TO MUSIC
It can be extremely difficult for the pyros to coordinate the barrage of fireworks with the timing of the beats to various songs. There were a number of exceptional segments where it worked perfectly. Some sets were dramatic with solemn music and large12-16” diameter shells displaying huge circular cascades. Some were playful and fast-passed. Unfortunately, I was watching (and not filming) the best segment played to “Great Balls of Fire” which featured great timing of colorful “gas bombs”. Here is one nice segment synched to “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” (Length: 1:21)
Make sure you have plenty of camera battery and storage to capture the finale of a Winter Blast featured program. Viewing these fireworks in-person will spoil you forever. Your community fireworks programs will never be as great. (Length: 2:32)
GOING OUT WITH A BANG
Finally, the Sunday night public display was produced by members of the WPA. The highlight this year was a tribute to one of the club’s member who passed away this year. The video is 5 minutes, so sit back and enjoy. (Length: 5:01)