I hope everyone had a happy 4th of July! The Mullen Volunteer Fire Department always has a fireworks show, so I guess I kind of took it all for granted. I never realized just how much work went into the fireworks display! This year, I participated instead of just watching, and I learned a lot!
I had no idea the hours of prep time that the firefighters need to have an hour’s show. (This doesn’t include the firework stand the guys run for almost two weeks before the 4th.) Early in the evening, the department guys gathered to separate and pack the fireworks into boxes and set up launchers at the fair grounds. I had worked somewhere else for a few hours more than planned, so I was running late for that meeting. After a supper break, they met back at the fire hall. I made it this time. More sorting and unpacking took place, and we finally got our gear, loaded into the rigs and went to unload everything else. We had to gear up before the show started. As soon as the guys were ready (and it was dark enough to give a spectacular show), the sky lit up with colors. What a show! On the way out, one person said it was the best show in 20 years! We took in a substantial amount in donations, but the fancy display in the sky cost the department many hours of work and about $3000 for the fireworks. Not many people realize that.
After everyone had left, the firefighters had to stay and clean up by flash lights and the headlights of the rigs. Once the mess was clean, the launchers themselves had to be cleaned out and gear stowed. I left before some of the guys, and I got home at 11 p. m. There were at least 10 firefighters working to make the show possible. That is volunteer time for our community. The next time you watch a fireworks display and the donation boot is out, remember all the time invested to make it happen!