Fireworks used to be different. A single rocket would fire into the stratosphere. It would explode with sparks that filled the night sky. The audience would ooh and ahh. And after a few moments of silence, the cycle would repeat.
That’s not just your childhood memory at work. Fireworks shows really were slower and fueled by bigger explosions just a few decades back. Today, shows tend to pack in more, smaller fireworks to make up scale in bulk. There are a variety of intersecting anthropological and financial reasons for that, explains Doug Taylor, the president of Zambelli Fireworks (a company that will put on roughly 600 fireworks shows across the country this holiday weekend). People live closer together, safety regulations have gotten tighter, and if you don’t have size, fireworks are exciting in sheer density
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