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Pyrotechnics Guild to light up the skies

Fans at ground level watch and listen to the roar of three million firecrackers being set off just before the final aerial display of fireworks during the PGI convention's last visit to the area. Pioneer file photo

The Pyrotechnics Guild International is back bigger and better than ever to light up the community after a four-year lull with PGI 2011 Rhapsody on the Red.

The exciting and highly entertaining fireworks convention will once invade the area, headquartered out of the Red River Valley Fairgrounds, in West Fargo, Saturday, Aug. 6 through Friday, Aug. 12, with a rain date of Saturday, Aug. 13.

The event will feature some of the finest fireworks displays in the country shot by some of the most recognized fireworks companies in the world.

Fireworks will begin at 4 p.m. each day with a salute shell resulting in a loud booming noise for all to hear.

Displays will be held on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, with Thursday and Saturday rain dates, beginning at dusk at approximately 9 p.m. The show on Friday will start a littler earlier at 8:30 p.m.

According to Cole Carley, president and CEO of the Fargo Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau, the impact of this event on the metro wide community is extremely significant.

"Between PGI and the Air Show it will be a million dollar week for Fargo Moorhead," Carley said. "PGI is one of our all time favorites, partially for a couple of reasons. First of all, because of the economic impact it brings to the community; and secondly, because of the enjoyment it brings to people who will see some of the most spectacular fireworks they will ever see in their lives. These people do this for a living. They put all sorts of time and effort into the exhibitions. I also can't stress enough the advantage of paying your few dollars and going in and getting a seat in the grandstand, you cannot experience the whole show sitting outside watching. It's all keyed to music and choreographed, both the ground and aerial displays. You really need to be there to experience the whole thing."

In that regard, all the display nights should prove to be spectacular, but the concluding show on Friday night promises to be the king of dynamics, billed as "the most intense period of fireworks you will ever see."

Those planning on attending are encouraged to be on site early for this special Grand Finale evening of fireworks entertainment. The announcements and officers welcome will be at 8:30 PM; Circle of Excellence Award (PGI's highest honor) at 8:45 p.m.; the Torch Pass to the host of next year's convention at 9 p.m.; tribute to deceased members at 9:10 p.m.; Super String/Mega String, assemblages of millions of firecrackers, arranged either in cables suspended from a crane or along a 30 foot high frontal wall, at 9:20 p.m.; All Stars invitation only event at 9:50 p.m. featuring "some of the best" not seen anywhere else in the world; a 9-11 Tribute by Zambelli at 10:10 p.m., followed by the Grand Public Display by Pyrotechnico at 10:30 p.m.

Ticket prices are $10 for general admission/$15 for reserved admission on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On Friday, tickets are $15 for either general admission or reserved admission. All four nights can be reserved for $50. Parking on the Fairgrounds is $5 for any night.

No parking will be permitted on public roadways in the area during the display hours. Parking will be provided on the Fairgrounds for $5 on any of the nights. Parking at the Scheels Soccer Complex will be $10.

Tickets for the event, along with a complete daily schedule of activities, are available Online at or by contacting the Red River Valley Fairgrounds at 701-282-2200.