LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - ?
Hundreds of people will be packing into Ellen Trout Zoo to see Lufkin's 9th annual Fireworks Extravaganza light up the sky.
However, what you don't see from across the zoo lake is all the prep work that goes into making this spectacular show go off without a hitch.
East Texas News went behind the scenes as the Mike Love & Associates Law Firm and a crew of volunteers spend hours setting up the show.
Every year, tons of people come to see the colorful sparkles that burst in the air, but what you might not know about is all the time, money, and manpower that goes into making it happen.
"It's a lot of work," said pyrotechnics volunteer, Wayne Elledge. "It's a lot of hours, and it goes up for 24 minutes of show. That'll happen tonight. It's months of preparation to get it all working."
That's right, the team of volunteers spent about eight months planning this year's show.
"Just from July 3rd to July 4th throughout the day-to-day takes a team of about 20 people somewhere in the neighborhood of 16-18 hours to put it together," Elledge said.
The high-tech show is all electrical, which helps improve safety. Plus, every shell or series of shells is wired together by hand.
"Lots of miles of cable and lots of miles of wire by the time we get it all hooked together, so it's very, very labor intensive," said Elledge.
"The size of the show we've got...it takes a lot of people to put it together," said the fireworks show's sponsor Mike Love of the Mike Love & Associates Law Firm.
About 3,000 shells are going into this year's 24-minute show to make it bigger, better, and brighter than the last.
"We've got some coordinated red,white, and-blue shots along with salutes, which are when you hear the really loud boom," said Love.
"We added some more stuff to it and we added some better quality stuff to it and there's a lot of new colors that are out now," said Elledge.
But you want to make sure to have your eyes to the sky for the beginning and the three-and-a-half minute finale.
"The opening shot this year is going to be interesting. It's something we haven't ever tried before," Elledge said. "It's going to be a surprise opening and if it goes off like it's supposed to, everybody will notice."
The fireworks are expected to begin around 9:15 p.m., so you still have plenty of time to head over to the zoo for the festivities.
There is also live music and tons of food vendors. You can catch the shuttle running from Lufkin High School to the zoo until 8:45 p.m.
And remember the Loop will be closed to thru traffic from Highway 59 to Highway 69 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday night.