April 27, 2007 — If the four flatbed trailers completely packed with fireworks shells are any indication, Carnival fans are in for a treat Saturday night.
Those trailers will be loaded onto a barge for a short trip to Charlotte Amalie Harbor for a big bang finish to Carnival 2007 on Saturday night starting just before 9 p.m.
According to Steve Bornn of Left Lane Productions, It will be loud and it will be long. We try to be creative, and this guy will be using the sky as a canvas. Hes an artist.
Bornn was pointing to Tom Guida of the world-famous Fireworks by Grucci during a rare behind-the-scenes visit early Friday morning.
Guida travels around the country and the world, wherever Grucci sends him. This is his second visit to St. Thomas. He was here for the recent opening of Yacht Haven, and those in attendance for that thought he put on a mighty fine show.
Guida noted, This is an unusual setup because it is a large one to do on trailers. Plus, it is on a barge, and we have to set it up and then move it. But in the end you are going to have three shells in the sky every second.
Bornn and Guida were carefully directing the loading of thousands of shells into launching tubes or mortars.
The jam-packed, very colorful 26-minute show is timed down to the second and follows a very exact schedule and schematic.
The show was produced on a $60,000 budget, which includes labor, shipping, fireworks and the barge.
Bornn added, The good part about it, is that it is going to a local company with local technical help.
In addition to the six people from Left Lane, there were four from Grucci on site. This is pretty advanced work, and my guys are doing a great job, Bornn said.
Bornn said that it was a unique setup because no deck barge was available and they would be shooting off a barge with a pilothouse. We are safety first, both property and life, and because there is a pilothouse, we are limited in the size shells we can use."
The size of the harbor also limits the shell size. Bornn said that the harbor may look big, but is only 2,000 feet wide. He explained that each shell has a specific distance that must be clear around it when it detonates. By law, each inch of shell requires a 100-foot clearance radius.
That means that the largest shell that can safely be used in Charlotte Amalie is an eight-inch, which needs an 800-foot radius, or a total of 1,600 feet clear around it.
Bornn was proud of his setup, that they started on Wednesday, pointing out how densely packed the flatbeds were. Thats 170 feet, and it is going to be nice and loud," he said.
After each shell is loaded into a mortar, the top opening is covered with foil so no accidental ignition can occur. Then the entire flatbed is covered with plastic in case of rain. We shoot right through the plastic, so it is rain or shine, Bornn promised.
Fireworks by Grucci has performed at the last six presidential inaugurations, several Olympic and World Games, and the Brooklyn Bridge Centennial.
The West Indian Company is co-sponsoring the fireworks.
Bornn let slip that there will be an announcement shell at 8:45 p.m. and another every five minutes until showtime at 9 p.m., ending with a finale fitting the close of Carnival 2007.
Bornn had one last piece of advice, You want to be nice and low, right on the waterfront, because that barge is going to come in right between the Legislature Building and the Old Pump House, right across from Carnival Village. Then they are going to break right over your head.
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