A lot of planning — and a lot of explosive firepower — goes into pulling off a community fireworks display, no matter how modest. But some cities take their holiday pyrotechnics to another level. Here’s a breakdown of what it takes to create some of the nation’s top Independence Day displays:
New York City
The Big Apple is home to the nation’s largest fireworks display — the “Macy’s 4th of July Spectacular.”
- Tagline: The “Granddaddy of them all”
- Number of explosives: 54,000 (2015)
- Blast zone: 3 barges in the East River, plus the Brooklyn Bridge.
- Debut: 1976
This year, the “Music City” is making a run at New York City for the largest fireworks display in the country. “It’s not an exact science, but we got a rough idea of how many shells New York had so we told our supplier to make sure he had more shells than New York this year,” Butch Spyridon, CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp., tells USA Today.
- Tagline: “Let Freedom Sing”
- Number of explosives: 54,001 (or at least more than New York City)
- Duration: 27 minutes (2014)
- Claim to fame: Choreographed to live performance by the Nashville Symphony
Our nation’s capital might not put on the biggest — or longest — show, but you can’t beat the grand setting: The National Mall, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol. More than 150 National Park Service employees work with a pyrotechnics production company to make the show possible.
- Tagline: “A Capitol Fourth”
- Number of explosives: 6,500 (2014)
- Duration: 17 minutes
- Attendance: Millions (via PBS’ live video stream)
This small Dallas suburb pulls off one of the largest displays in the U.S.
- Tagline: “Addison Kaboom Town!”
- Amount of explosives: 3,500 pounds (2014)
- Population: 19,000
- Attendance: 500,000+
San Diego, Calif.
Home to the U.S. Navy’s largest base on the West Coast — and the home port of the Pacific Fleet — San Diego doesn’t skimp on its July 4th celebrations.
- Tagline: “Big Bay Boom”
- Number of explosives: 10,000 (2014)
- Blast zone: 4 barges in North San Diego Bay
- Attendance: 300,000 – 500,000