Hiss, crackle, bang, BOOM! Southern Utah’s largest fireworks show to light up St. George skies

Fireworks during Independence Day, St. George, Utah, July 4, 2016 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The fireworks show for the 99.9 KONY Country “4th of July Celebration” will be a 20-minute extravaganza of pyrotechnics synchronized to a variety of popular patriotic songs.

The event is Southern Utah’s largest fireworks show, said St. George pyrotechnician Murray Gubler, who has been staging such events for 42 years.

Pytotechnician Murray Gubler surveys the Dixie State University campus parking lot where he will be setting up for the “4th of July Celebration” fireworks show, St. George, Utah, June 21, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Gubler, who recently retired from long career in the banking industry, said he started getting involved with fireworks as a local Kiwanis Club member more than four decades ago.

“We were hand-firing them and it was just a small show at that point,” he said.

Now, Gubler and his family operate their own pyrotechnics business, with multiple family members licensed to handle and discharge fireworks.

Next week’s Fourth of July show is scheduled for Wednesday at 10 p.m., at the conclusion of a two-hour concert at Dixie State University’s Trailblazer Stadium featuring country singers Scotty McCreery and Tim Gates.

Read more: How do they do it? Months of planning, lots of money go into staging 99.9 KONY Country’s ‘4th of July Celebration’

Gubler said that this year’s fireworks show will be similar to last year’s, with between 4,000 and 5,000 shells fired in a 20-minute span, all carefully synchronized to music.

Dixie State University campus map showing venue rules, parking and other details regarding the “4th of July Celebration” scheduled for July 4, 2018 | Image courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

“Last year, I think, was probably one of my better years on choreography, being able to match it right to the end. It’s hard to do that,” he said.

Gubler said he and his fellow workers will start setting up the shells in their arrays of launching tubes early next week, a few days in advance of the show. The fireworks are ordered, purchased and shipped from suppliers in Asia, he said.

The 20-minute show will feature a mixture of patriotic tunes, both pop and country, with KONY on-air personality Marty Lane providing some narration.

“My favorite is always Lee Greenwood’s ‘God Bless the USA’,” said Lane’s on-air partner Amy Chesley. “I look forward to hearing this song each and every year. It never gets old!”

About 250 fireworks will be shot off together during the grand finale, Gubler said, adding that the pyrotechnics will essentially be going off nonstop during the show.

“We choreograph it so that it’s not all at once. I mean, we stage it so we’re shooting, maybe 30-40 here, 30-40 there, to break it up, so it’s not all in one huge ball of smoke.”

Pytotechnician Murray Gubler and family members set up fireworks for a previous show in St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Gubler Pyrotechnics, St. George News

Those attending the concert will have an optimum view of the fireworks show. The fireworks will be shot off from the parking lot east of the stadium, which now has a new set of grandstands on the east side.

Those not attending the concert will be able to view the fireworks for free from the grassy lawn areas in DSU’s Encampment Mall in the heart of campus. The softball field and immediately surrounding areas (including the southern portion of the mall) will be closed off for safety reasons, and attendees are advised to stay out of the restricted areas even after the show ends, as unexploded fireworks have sometimes been known to go off 15 to 20 minutes after being fired. See map of DSU campus at left, showing restricted areas, places to park and other event-specific information.

Fireworks light up the sky during the 2017 “99.9 KONY Country 4th of July Celebration” in St. George, Utah, July 4, 2017 | File photo by Krystal Tibbs, St. George News

Farther away from campus, viewers will still be able to enjoy the fireworks from a distance.

“Up on Red Hill or on Black Hill, you’ll see most of it,” Gubler said, “You won’t get the same effect. The closer you are the better, because you can hear it. I tell people the best place to watch a fireworks display is right under it.”

For those watching from a distance, Chesley recommends tuning into the radio to hear the synchronized music.,

“It will be broadcast live on the radio,” she said. “Tune into 99.9 KONY Country and you will hear it all!”

Tickets for the 99.9 KONY Country “4th of July Celebration” are available online.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • PlanetU June 27, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    “Nice” title for this story – see previous story about 2000 acre fire on Pine Mountain.

  • utahdiablo June 27, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    Yep, just keep on selling Aerial Fireworks here in Utah ( which have only been legal here in Utah from 2011 onward ) which of course is because the the mighty Utah Greed machine to make more money at the expense of the rest of Utah’s citizens having their Homes and Land and businesses burned to the ground so that a few, a very few, can get their jollys for a few minutes…this crap needs to end

    • NotSoFast June 28, 2018 at 9:25 am

      Thanks for your opinion. It means so much. (not). An idea for ya- Buy one of those new My Pillow pillows, and put your head under it for safety. Just because you can’t see the celebration from your back yard lawn chair, with all that noise, remember that the community is made up grateful Americans. I hope you reevaluate your opinion neighbor.

  • PlanetU June 28, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    WTF – do you mean? What does grateful Americans have to do with fires? Not sensible AT ALL to be selling or shooting off fireworks anywhere. I agree with utahdiablo GREED – FUNDRAISER. Wash some cars instead.

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