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December 20, 2014

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NYE fireworks show: One year of preparation over in 8 minutes, 12 seconds

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Yasmina Chavez

The control panel for the Treasure Island rooftop fireworks is seen in the foreground, Monday, Dec. 31, 2012. The main control panel for all seven rooftop firework set-ups is triggered from the Rio.

NYE Fireworks Set-up

Felix Grucci Jr., who recently handed over ownership of Fireworks by Grucci to a nephew, poses for a picture on the Treasure Island rooftop where the technician crew finishes preparations for the New Year's Eve 2012 fireworks show, Monday, Dec. 31. Launch slideshow »

Just before midnight, when hundreds of thousands of people on the Strip look toward the sky for the $500,000 fireworks show, Felix Grucci Jr. will be nervously awaiting the climax of what has been a year of preparation.

“I’m 61 years old. I’ve been doing this all my life,” he said. “I still get nervous. When you push that button, is it going to work? Will everything work?”

Any number of factors – high winds, rain or technical difficulties with the charges – can put a crimp in the fireworks display. But in the 14 years his company, Fireworks by Grucci, has been involved, the Las Vegas New Year’s Eve fireworks have blasted off without any problems.

Standing on the windy rooftop of Treasure Island swaddled in two jackets, Grucci pointed to the sky, the canvas for his show, and the six other hotel rooftops from where the fireworks will be fired. He’ll be watching the 8-minute, 12-second show from his command post on the rooftop of the Rio. When it’s over, 10,000 circuits will have launched more than 80,000 pyrotechnic devices.

Hopes for the event are always high said Michael Mack, vice president of marketing for Las Vegas Events, the organization that recruited Grucci.

“The expectation is you’re going to a have a good fireworks show, a world-class fireworks show,” Mack said.

Fireworks by Grucci, based on Long Island, N.Y., is known worldwide for its shows, including a recent production for the grand opening of the Atlantis hotel in Dubai.

Tonight’s event dubbed “America’s Party,” will feature fireworks with names like Criss Crossing Comets, Twinkling Kamru’s and Crackling Chrysanthemums. The fireworks get their color from different kinds of salt and are blasted across the sky by gunpowder.

The show is choreographed to a soundtrack that includes songs like “Whistle,” by Flo Rida, “Raise Your Glass,” by Pink, and “Light up the Sky” by Duncan. The finale will blast off to the song “Titanium,” by David Guetta.

A former congressman from New York, Grucci grew up in the family fireworks business. Recently, he handed ownership over to his nephew, the sixth generation of the family to run the business.

The classic celebration of the New Year won’t leave out the past, Grucci said. Show technicians decided to write the name of each of the 26 victims of the Newtown Conn., tragedy on 26 fireworks.

“It will be a memorial to those who passed away and a celebration of their lives,” he said.

But Grucci wants people to forget their troubles for the night.

“Our stuff is designed to bring joy and happiness and peace,” he said.

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