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Lack Of Pyrotechnic Workers Affecting Fireworks Shows This Holiday Weekend

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- After a year off due to COVID-19, Fourth of July fireworks celebrations will return to many cities across the state, but some had to change their dates due to a shortage of pyrotechnic workers.

"I think a lot of people are going to be excited. It's good," said Nicole Sindelar, of Hastings Golf Club and Events.

With the exception of last summer, the Hastings Golf Club has put on an Independence Day fireworks show for more than 20 years. They're back this year, but instead of the Fourth of July, they're shooting for July 2.

"What happened because of COVID, is the pyrotechnics company did not have enough crew members to pull it off on the 4th so the solution was to do it on Friday," said Sindelar, who owns the course.

Still, they're expecting close to 3,000 people to come and watch. Cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul aren't having shows this year due to fireworks shortages and lingering concerns about the pandemic. That means the draw in Hastings could be even bigger, something the fireworks company is well aware of.

It takes about nine hours to set up for the show. The crew builds racks and then spends hours wiring everything together.

"There are the scripts we go by. Everything has to be wired properly," said Keith Kutzke.

Kutzke is with Pyrotechnic Display Incorporated and he's been doing this for 54 years, working with fireworks shells that are eight inches in diameter. They're booked straight through next week. His crew has plenty of inventory, just not enough help.

"We are short help too, just like everybody else," said Kutzke. "We are doing shows back to back to back, but we don't have enough shooters right now."

But the show here will go on, even if it is a couple days early.

"We are thinking this could be our biggest one yet. It's always a big deal when we've done it but this year it's even bigger so we're excited," said Sindelar.

Vermillion Bank sponsors the Hastings fireworks show. It's free to the public. They'll also have food vendors and a band.

Minneapolis scrapped its "Red, White and Boom" event over planning concerns stemming from the pandemic.

While the show over the Minnesota State Capitol was canceled for budgetary reasons, the St. Paul Saints are planning to shoot off fireworks every night this weekend at CHS Field for the Downtown Welcome Back Weekend event.

For a list of where to see fireworks in Minnesota, click here.


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