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America Dances to the Explosive Beat: The 32nd Annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks

June 23, 2008 - by Ellis Whitman
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This Independence Day, New York City will shake, rattle and roll to the tune of over 35,000 fireworks as the city dances the night away at the 32nd Annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks®. Over 3 million spectators will marvel as fireworks take to the giant sky-high dance floor for America’s most elaborate pyrotechnic dance extravaganza. On Friday, July 4th, “America Dances” sets the mood for the evening as the creative force behind the spectacular, featuring a score that celebrates patriotism with energetic standards and popular music throughout history that has kept us swinging, tapping and jumping for joy. 
Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks is the nation’s largest display of pyrotechnic firepower on Independence Day. The approximately 30-minute display fires over 1,100 shells per minute and is coordinated from 6 barges at two locations on the East River in New York City. Macy’s Fireworks barges will be positioned at the East River between 10th and 24th Streets in Manhattan featuring a center double barge configuration with two single barges flanking it. At the South Street Seaport, a double-barge configuration will be positioned just south of the Brooklyn Bridge for the show. At approximately 9:25pm, the spectacular will begin creating “ohhs,” “ahhs,” and “wows” from millions of spectators in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn, lining parks, highways and rooftops along the East River.

The magical dance in the sky begins with the most creative team in the business: the talents at Macy’s Entertainment Group, who each year produce New York’s most cherished holiday traditions from the 4th of July Fireworks to the Thanksgiving Day Parade and majestic Flower Show. Working in tandem with Gary and James Souza, and the entire SOUSA Fireworks team of Rialto, CA, the team have created incredible Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks shows for over 25 years.

This year’s show will have the fireworks twist, hop, jump, and sway to energetic patriotic standards and classic dance themed tunes from our long history. Performed by The New York Pops under the direction of Rob Fisher, the score will feature such classics as “Good Golly Miss Molly,”?“The Twist,” “Rock Around the Clock,” and “The Tennessee Waltz.” The score will also feature patriotic standards like “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America.” Lending her talents to America Dances is pop music sensation Katherine McPhee, who will be the guest soloist on the sultry “Save the Last Dance for Me.”

What are going to be the newest, most exciting effects that will have the crowds cheering? Well, it all depends on the spectator. For many it’s the ever-popular happy faces or giant palm trees that cascade magically down to the water, but this year promises to bring new favorites to expectant viewers. New nautical fireworks will be launched and float on the water as their effects dazzle spectators. These shells include the swirling silver merry-go-round fountains (cascading-fountain-shaped effects that spin like a merry-go-round) and the red bengal strobes (shells with a red flashing strobe-light effect). Not to be outdone, Macy’s will debut shells that have multiple transformations, such as the parallel quad rings that surprise as they transform four times from a ring to sparkles, then waterfalls and finally to loud bees.

Always a highlight of every Macy’s Fireworks is the famed Golden Mile, a multi-layer explosion that stretches across the skyline for over a mile, filling it with a golden light from the water’s edge to 1,200 feet in the air. The Golden Mile can be seen this year in the “Save the Last Dance for Me” portion of the show.

From rooftops, balconies, parks, boardwalks and highways, spectators along the East River will not only have a front row view of the show, but also get an extra special surprise. At 7:30 PM, viewers on both sides of the East River in midtown will be treated to an FDNY Fireboat Water Show.  New York’s Bravest will sail two Marine Division fireboats spraying red, clear and blue water arcs up 300 feet in the air in a patriotic salute to the stars and stripes.

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