An arsenal of rockets ranging in sizes from 2 to 12 inches in diameter will be in position Monday to provide a star-spangled sky as a climax to Independence Day activities at Sugarhouse Park.
Sponsored by the Deseret News and Salt Lake City Parks and Recreation Department, the fireworks will be the frosting on the Fourth of July as Utahns help to celebrate America's 212th anniversary.Traditionally, the Deseret News has sponsored without charge the major Independence Day pyrotechnic displays at either Derks Field or the University of Utah's Rice Stadium. But the crowds have been so great at both locations that thousands of people have been turned away each year.
So this year the fireworks will be fired from the southwest corner of the spacious park at 21st South and 13th East.
Utahns are invited to pack a lunch, come to the park in the late afternoon or early evening, grab a small plot of lawn or a picnic table, watch sky divers, enjoy bluegrass music and climax the evening with a sky full of brilliant rockets and thundering mortar shells.
Kicking off the activities will be members of the Cedar Valley Skydiving Club "dropping in" at 8:15 p.m. After they land, music by the Rick Martinez bluegrass band will entertain until the fireworks at 9:45 p.m.
As the Sugarhouse fireworks begin, they will signal the start of smaller city-sponsored displays at Raging Waters and Riverside park.
Everyone is guaranteed a "good seat" this year - either on the lawn with a blanket or on comfortable lawn chairs. There will be no "gates" to lock out those arriving late as in the past.
"We hope to accommodate everyone this year," said one program official. "It has been unfortunate to lock the gates at Derks Field or Rice Stadium when the place has been filled to capacity for the free programs."
Reservations for park terraces have not been accepted for the Fourth of July; therefore, they will be open to those who prefer picnic tables instead of a blanket on the lawn.
The fireworks will take on an international flavor as hundreds of shells - either fiery explosions or thundering "salutes" - are shot high into the sky. Some shells come from Brazil, Taiwan, West Germany, China and France along with those manufactured in the United States.
Each country has certain expertise that offers the American public a variety of displays, according to fireworks officials.
And some colors are more difficult to produce than others because of the chemicals used. Blue, for example, is difficult to develop whereas red is the easiest, but there will be plenty of all colors for Monday's Sugarhouse Park show.
One of the largest shells is a 12-inch ball that lights up the whole sky. It has a long fuse and it is placed in the bottom of a steel mortar that is buried in the ground. The fuse is placed outside the tube and ignited.
As the fuse ignites the "lift," the package is propelled high into the sky. A second explosion is the fiery display seen by the audience.
What happens if the first explosion doesn't get the package high enough?
"We call that a flower pot," a parks employee said.
For the finale, a variety of sizes is used including the 2-inch shells. Noise is as important as the brilliant explosions so the "salutes" are added to the show.