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Frisco fireworks to rock your socks

ROBERT ALLEN
summit daily news
Summit Daily/Robert Allen
ALL |

FRISCO – About 2,000 fireworks will boom, crackle, surge and scream above Dillon Reservoir tonight in Summit County’s largest Fourth of July display.

“The opening will be a little more robust than in the past,” said Jeff Berino, deputy fire chief with Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue. “We’ll finish with a whole rain of thunder.”

Berino, 51, has been in charge of local fireworks for 29 years. He and his crew are orchestrating those in Keystone and Copper as well as Frisco this year.

The more-than $20,000 Frisco show – the biggest in the county – will last about 21 minutes.

“A good show is just about $1,000 per minute,” Berino said.

While he and the crew set up fireworks behind Summit Middle School Friday (closed to the public), he took a break to remove a 12 inch-in-diameter shell worth $600 from its case. The largest legal shell in the United States, a 12-incher can weigh up to 30 pounds.

“It’s good luck to sign these,” Berino said. “Look at that charge – sucker’s gonna rip.”

A couple of them will be fired off from 5-foot tubes buried-in-the-ground.

For the show’s climax, 300 shells will take off within a minute.

“It’s scary, we’ve never sent that much up at once,” he said, adding that the effect will be a “kaleidoscope.”

Spectators might see illuminated figures of serpents, palm trees and even Pepsi cans in the sky.

“This is going to be a fun year,” he said.

Preparing for blast-off

Berino began working on the script for the show in March. The fireworks come from Japan, China and the United States.

Though there are programs available on CD to set off the fireworks, Berino trusts his decades of experience over the automated alternative.

“I like to push the button,” he said. “I want the exact millisecond.”

He’ll wear a headset for cues.

Folks will want to tune their radios to Krystal 93 for the music – kicking off with “Star Wars” and including some patriotic classics – to which Berino will time his triggers.

He’ll be about 150 feet back from ground zero, behind a tree stump and dressed in “full fire gear.”

Meanwhile, Berino has been spending the night armed and in his vehicle on-site to ensure his work is secure.

He said the moments leading up to the show can be tense.

“I’m just pins and needles,” he said. “So many things can go wrong.”

To ensure the grand finale is protected, the fireworks involved are kept under a tarp until about a minute before they erupt. At that point, Christopher Martinez with Western Enterprises will make a dash to unveil them.

Martinez isn’t part of the fire department, and the firefighters who work on the display are on their own time – not the taxpayers’, Berino said.

The recreation path behind the middle school will close at 7:30 p.m. for the display. Berino said the best views will be at the Frisco Peninsula and from Frisco Main Street.

Berino said the only down side to his job setting off the fireworks is he won’t have the best view of the “gorgeous” designs exploding in the Summit skies. But he’ll be able to hear the response.

“We love just hearing people cheer because that’s what it’s all about: for the crowds,” he said.


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