Millions of explosions will be heard in Mason City this week along with colorful bursts of light as the North Iowa Fairgrounds hosts the Pyrotechnics Guild International convention. Tom Sklebar, a vice president of P-G-I , says they’ll bring huge public fireworks displays during the evenings while it’s also a competition between the so-called "pyros."
He labels it the International Olympics of fireworks competition with fireworks of all shapes and sizes, some that you’ll never see in public fireworks displays due to their size and cost. Some shells weigh 150 pounds each and take two months to build. There will be public displays almost every night through Friday night, but Sklebar says a lot of people miss out on what takes place after those public displays conclude.
He says the "good stuff" and the competition with the hand-crafted quality fireworks happens later on with the competitions, since many of the fireworks will be types that the public typically doesn’t see, often going until 1 A.M. Sklebar says many of the 35-hundred fireworks makers will be showing off their talents while also teaching about pyrotechnics. There are more than 100 classes and seminars being offered, like a class on how to photograph fireworks.
There are instructors who teach dance choreography at the university level who are "into" fireworks and will teach how to coordinate fireworks with music. Friday night’s Grand Public Display will feature something called The Mega String, a wall of millions of firecrackers that are all ignited at once and produces a sound louder than a jet engine.