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Pyrotechnicians prepare for Duluth's firework display

The firework set up is constantly monitored leading up to the show.

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The city of Duluth produces Minnesota's largest fireworks display. On Saturday, July 3, 2021, pyrotechnicians from Pyrotechnic Display Inc. in Clear Lake, MN worked on the set up. The city of Duluth Fourth Fest is a free community celebration. (Dan Williamson / dwilliamson@duluthnews.com)

The vendor supplying Duluth's fireworks for Fourth Fest started setting up for the show on Friday.

Chris Plafcan, of Superior, has been helping out with firework shows for more than 20 years, on and off, and has been watching Duluth's firework display since before he moved to the Twin Ports.

"This has been by far my favorite show," said Plafcan, who was working alongside his brother and close friend on Saturday.

The $50,000 firework show will last 18 minutes and begins around 10:10 p.m. Sunday. Duluth City Council approved the purchase back in March.

Pyrotechnic Display, with an office based in Clear Lake, Minnesota, is the firework vendor. The pyrotechnicians out of the Minnesota office travel as far as Montana, Wisconsin and Iowa to put on shows and Duluth's show is one of its biggest displays.

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Pyrotechnician Josiah Poirier said the team set up the racks that hold the fireworks shells on Friday. On Saturday they were doing most of the firework wiring. The whole system is computerized and each firework has an individual match that gets wired.

"So we can just hit the 'go' button and it just does everything," he said. "This show they shoot up to 10-inch shells, where a lot of shows don't go that big. We're able to be a little further away from the crowd and do the bigger shells."

The eight-inch and 10-inch shells are designed to linger in the sky and drizzle down, otherwise known as the weeping willows of fireworks, and Plafcan's personal favorite. For comparison, most of the shells in the display are four and five-inch shells.

Poirier said they look forward to the applause, cheering and horn honking at the end of the show.

The firework set up is constantly monitored leading up to the show.

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