Looking back: How crews prepare massive fireworks show

Lone Star NYE

This in an archive story from previous Lone Star NYE! broadcasts. Be sure to tune into Lone Star NYE Live! on December 31 as we count down to the end of 2020 — and say “hello” to 2021!

DALLAS (NBCDFW.com) — Cases of fireworks and computer equipment arrived at Reunion Tower Friday to make the trip to the top.

“This is what we call the lower roof,” Melrose Pyrotechnics Creative Director Matt Peterson said, standing 500 feet above the street on the deck outside the Reunion Tower ball. “Beyond that sphere is a long way down!”

The New Year’s Eve fireworks will go off from all around the Reunion Tower ball. “Then we have structures that will be at the very peak of the ball,” Peterson said.

The 10-minute “Over the Top” fireworks show at midnight will ring in 2020 with 5,000 fireworks that are set to a soundtrack.

“This one ranks number 1,” Peterson said about the Reunion Tower display. “And I’m not just saying that.”

Peterson took NBC 5 behind the scenes inside the control room where the fireworks display will be orchestrated.

“Everything is plugged into one of these right here,” Peterson said referring to a computer board.

The planning for 2020 started about a month after the smoke cleared on the 2019 fireworks show.

“I do say that my grandfather kind of started me out with a firecracker in the back alley,” Peterson said about his love for fireworks. “There is no fireworks college, by the way, so I did go to school for business. I think my parents were still questioning, could this be a real thing, and 30 years later, yes, it certainly is a real thing!”

Peterson said the NYE fireworks show will pay homage to iconic structures of the Dallas skyline.

“So you don’t just shoot one, you shoot 20 at a time,” Peterson said explaining how the effects are made. “That helps paint the picture of what we’re trying to do on the tower.”

Above all, Peterson said he hopes the fireworks show sparks emotion, and thought. His resolution has nothing to do with diet or exercise.

“Try and seek joy throughout the year and in return…you’re going to find great happiness,” Peterson said. “Make a memory. That’s what I say and enjoy the show!”

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