NEW CASTLE — Like fireworks?
The folks who comprise the Pyrotechnics Guild International sure do, and they’ll be sharing their passion with area folks all next week.
The Guild, an independent worldwide nonprofit organization of amateur and professional fireworks enthusiasts, is bringing its 40th annual convention to Cooper’s Lake Campground. The event — themed “BOOM & A Blast” — features seminars, competition and trade shows for guild members, but the group is also offer four nights of spectacular fireworks displays that will be open to the public.
“Two-and-a-half hours of fireworks with a music theme,” is how guild President Dan Creagan put it last fall when announcing the convention.
“You’ll see things you’ve never seen before. These people are all showing off in front of other professionals, and they don’t want to look bad.”
Convention organizers are expecting a total of 50,000 spectators to attend the week’s fireworks displays. Those who do should take lawn chairs or blankets, as there is no grandstand seating.
The shows are scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and 8 p.m. Friday. Gates and parking lots open at 4 p.m., and those attending are encouraged to arrive early. To pass the time until the pyrotechnics launch, there will be a pre-fireworks festival each day featuring vendors and live entertainment.
This isn’t the first time the Guild has brought its convention and pyrotechnic artistry to the area. It held its 1994 convention at SNPJ, near Enon Valley. Just like it did then, the event is expected to have a strong economic impact on the region.
In announcing the show last fall, Jack Cohen, president of the Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau, said the convention is expected to have a $5.5 million economic impact on the region, not only from convention proceeds but also from money spent at area hotels, restaurants and other merchants.
With the campground just a couple of miles east of the Lawrence County line off Route 422, the New Castle area is expected to share in that windfall.
Presale tickets are $35 per carload for up to 6 individuals. At the gate, they will be $40. Extra fees will apply for busloads, vans and individuals over the 6/carload limit. Presale tickets and more information about each night’s programs are available online at www.visitbutlercounty.com/pgi.