What it takes to light up the SCV sky with fireworks

Residents enjoy the fireworks show from the Westfield Valencia Town Center. Dan Watson/ The Signal

After the parade in Old Town Newhall and other holiday-related activities, families across the Santa Clarita Valley stop in awe to see the night sky light up with mesmerizing fireworks displays on the Fourth of July. 

This year, hundreds gathered at the Westfield Valencia Town Center to witness the city of Santa Clarita’s fireworks show. 

But executing a professional pyrotechnic show for the community requires a multi-agency effort and a whole lot of preparation, according to David Knutson, events administrator with the city of Santa Clarita. 

“There are three government agencies involved in the show and city staff work with the two property owners to produce the show,” he said. “The show takes about five months of planning to put everything together.” 

While you were probably sleeping, a seven-person pyrotechnic team with Expo Shows started to load in the machines that release the fireworks shells by 5 a.m. Thursday. The top of a parking structure by the Town Center was the designated launch site. 

The total show run time is 21 minutes, just enough to give the public a large, colorful display comprised of 814 fireworks shells and 3,100 shots of multishot fireworks, according to Knutson. 

The pyrotechnic team, which is responsible for the preparation, firing and cleaning up debris, is accompanied by city arts and events staff, medical staff and a Los Angeles County Fire inspector. 

Safety is also a vital part of the show. A total of 13 city staffers “act as fire watch to see if there are unexploded shells which are marked and then the lead pyrotechnic on site determines if they are or are not” and 12 other staffers “secure and patrol the fall zone to ensure the public doesn’t enter the area,” said Knutson. 

With fireworks as one of the most popular events of the day, about 20 sheriff’s deputies and 20 public works employees assisted with road closures and crowd control. 

The fireworks show cost $24,000, according to Knutson. 

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