WINDSOR JUNCTION: Ever wonder how a fireworks show is put together and who does it?

The Laker’s Pat Healey was invited behind the taped off area where explosives were as the crew—all from the Fall River area—from Fireworks FX was setting for the spectacular Keloose fireworks to cap off the 40th anniversary of the community festival on Aug. 20 at the Windsor Junction Community Centre.

PHOTOS: Keloose 2017 in pictures

Pam Wolodka works on one of the crates of fireworks at the Keloose show.

As the crowd of an estimated 3,000 people filed in to the WJCC to get the best seats for the show, which went off shortly after dusk, Lead Shooter Jim Malone had a crew that included Dereck Noel, doing his 25th Keloose fireworks; Pam Wolodka; Nola Hines, shooting her first show; Ron Verge; and Darren Frizell piecing together the show down by the lake.

“The show tonight we have three inch and four inch high-level shells and we have three inch mines, screamers that you may not see but you will hear them,” said Jim Malone, Lead Shooter with Fireworks FX. “We have several boxes that have mortars within the boxes that fire off and we have a couple thousand that fire off. They’ll go up a couple hundred feet in the air whereas the threes and fours will go up three and four hundred feet.”

The Keloose fireworks show had a unique aspect to it.

“We will be doing it wirelessly, like we did last year, but even more so this year,” said Malone. “We have a new system called the Cobra system. I’ve used it quite a bit this summer.”

Derick Noel focused on getting things in place. (Healey photo)

For Hines, who calls Wellington home, the show marked her first one doing. Two previous shows were cancelled because of weather. She was excited to be on the Keloose crew.

“It’s cool that it’s Keloose,” she said. “I grew up watching them from the other side of that tape getting yelled at to be on the other side.”

Why did she want to take the fireworks course to be able to shoot them off?

“Because it’s fun to blow things up,” said Hines. “I always wanted to, so I figured why not?”

Noel is a familiar face in the community. He just likes to be part of what many call the best fireworks show in HRM.

“I love it,” he said. “I look forward to coming down and set this show off every year. Being part of the community for this many years and it’s our way of contributing to the festivities for the weekend.

“It’s a lot of work, but its well worth it.”

Ron Verge was one of the locals working on the Keloose show. (Healey photo).

It’s not an easy setup for any fireworks show—the crew for the Keloose show began setting up shortly after 2:30 p.m. and only finished up about 8:45 p.m. with final tests.

“The most time consuming part is the wiring,” said Malone. “There’s a lot to it and it’s got to be done right. Normally we have a six or seven hour setup for a show, at least.”

The show for Kleoose was scripted—it was designed by Fireworks FX and was designed to match a script.

“Once we get all setup here, we hit one button and that takes us through the whole show,” said Malone.

The fireworks explode above Third Lake for the Keloose show. (Healey photo)

For Malone in his 27th year of doing fireworks, he said once he did his first show in 1990 with the Fall River Fire Department he was hooked on it.

“The beauty of this show is that it is done all by locals,” he said. “That’s something to treasure and makes the Keloose fireworks even more special.”

phealey@enfieldweeklypress.com

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Pat Healey
Pat has grown up in East Hants, having called Milford, and now Enfield home. He graduated from the journalism program at Holland College in 2001, and has spent time at newspapers in NL and Alberton and Summerside, PEI before becoming a reporter/photographer at The Weekly Press/The Laker in October 2008. He has a rescue kitty named Asha that is much loved—and spoiled. Pat is also our "social engagement guru." Check him out on twitter!