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October 20, 2014

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Fireworks technicians get ready for explosive New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas

There’s no party like America’s Party,” says Felix J. Grucci Jr., who is in charge of the 8.5-minute $500,000 spectacle

Image

Steve Marcus

Chief pyrotechnician Anthony Magno, left, checks wiring as pyrotechnicians from Fireworks by Grucci prepare for the New Year’s Eve fireworks show on the roof of the Treasure Island Friday, Dec. 30, 2011. Pyrotechnician Anthony Mortati looks on. The fireworks show will be the largest in the country based on the amount of fireworks and the show size geographically, said Felix Grucci, executive producer for “America’s Party.” STEVE MARCUS

Fireworks crew ready for New Year's Eve show

KSNV coverage of more than 56,000 fireworks being prepared to take flight over the Strip on New Year's Eve, Dec. 30, 2011.

FireworkSet-up for New Year's Eve

Felix Grucci, executive producer for Launch slideshow »

Treasure Island’s rooftop is normally home to satellite dishes and metal ventilation system coverings. But in preparation for New Year’s Eve, the hotel’s top has welcomed a few explosive guests.

Arrangements of yellow chrysanthemums, pink peonies and red dahlias have been placed on the rooftops of TI and seven other Las Vegas properties. No they’re not bouquets of flowers, but rather bundles of fireworks ready for a party.

“There’s no party like America’s Party,” said Felix J. Grucci Jr., executive vice president of Fireworks by Grucci, the company commissioned to set up the Strip’s firework display.

Grucci is also the choreographer of the eight and half minute show worth $500,000.

He chooses what fireworks will be set off and when, while the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority foots the half million-dollar bill.

Grucci says he bases the firework display on a musical score selected by his sister, Donna Grucci Butler, who is president and CEO of the family business that started in 1850.

More than 56,000 fireworks will be launched above the Strip in tune with music from such artists as LMFAO, Lady Gaga and ZZ Top.

“The music dictates the types of fireworks, but the insulation doesn’t change,” Grucci said.

Grucci’s crew has been setting up the fireworks since Tuesday on the rooftops of MGM Grand, Aria, Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace, TI, The Venetian, the Stratosphere and Tropicana, a new addition to the annual show.

“It’s a lot of work for eight minutes,” Grucci said.

The crew will spend time before the show conducting final diagnostics tests.

One firework will be launched off the tops of each of the eight hotels about 20 minutes before the midnight show, Grucci said.

As a precaution local fire department officials will be on each rooftop making sure the show goes off without a hitch.

Anthony Magno, chief pyrotechnics technician, doesn’t anticipate any challenges this year.

“We expect to be ready for 12 o’clock tomorrow night,” he said.

Magno and members of the crew weren’t dressed for winter weather. They wore T-shirts while they tinkered with the wiring system hooked up to the fireworks cylinder launching tubes that were lined in rows.

“Mother Nature is doing good this year,” said Magno, who’s worked on five of the city’s previous New Year’s Eve shows.

Mother Nature wasn’t so kind to Grucci’s team last year, as fireworks went up in windy 20-degree weather.

This year the winds will be down and the temperature will be in the mid-40s during the midnight show, according to forecasters.

That means audiences viewing the show outside won’t freeze while they take in the spectacle.

“You get to paint the sky,” Grucci said, explaining that's what a writer and friend once told him.

Grucci says one of the aspects he enjoys is the audience's reaction that in those eight minutes the vision in his mind’s eye comes to fruition.

But for Magno, what he mostly likes is the gala crescendo at the end of the show.

“The finale," he said, "it’s an Italian thing.”

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  1. Looking forward to it.

  2. Does anyone know if the music will be played on a radio? Or do you have to be on the strip to hear it??

  3. If you're not planning on heading to the Strip, but still want to listen to the music while you watch the fireworks from afar turn your FM dial to KOMP 92.3 or KXPT 97.1.