Several hundred fireworks enthusiasts from around the world converged in Erlanger, Kentucky, for the National Fireworks Association’s Expo 2007. The Expo was scheduled around daytime seminars and a trade show, followed each evening by demonstrations by various manufacturers. Needless, to say, there was little down-time.

The seminars that were conducted by esteemed experts were both informative and topical. For instance, Bengt Henriksen provided the membership with the latest information regarding the current environment surrounding overseas shipping of pyrotechnic products. Speaking of the environment, Dr. Roger Schneider presented a report on perchlorates and fireworks; and his preliminary conclusions indicate that the perception of perchlorate contamination is far worse than the reality. From a regulatory perspective, Dr. John Steinberg discussed recent changes in the NFPA guidelines, and also provided a thorough and thoughtful explanation of the process of how NFPA regulations are drafted and adopted. On the creative side, Gary Hansen and Bill Raynault led an imaginative discussion about techniques to producing superior fireworks displays, drawing upon each speaker’s extensive background and experiences.

Without exception, each evening’s pyrotechnics demonstrations were equally elaborate and entertaining. In many instances the quality and performance of 1.4g products is nearly identical to the 1.3g products, continuing a trend in the industry.

The Friday evening banquet that was held at the demonstration site was an unqualified success. In addition to an auction, the NFA introduced to the membership the creation of the Bartolotta Family Trust Fund [for full disclosure, this author had agreed to donate his legal time and effort to drafting the necessary trust document]. The outpouring of donations from the NFA membership—as well the commitment of the Pyrotechnics Guild International—in response to a fellow member in need, Joseph Bartolotta and the Bartolotta family, was most gratifying and illustrates the very spirit of each of these organizations. Additional information regarding donations to the Bartolotta Family Trust may be directed to Bengt Henriksen of Quality Logistics, or to the publishers of this journal, or to this author.

Special mention is given to Friday evening’s display produced by John Sagaria who, in my opinion, is a storyographer extraordinaire. The first half of his display featured the theme song from the Muppets; and the display itself was so sensational that even Ernie the Grouch would be seen cracking a smile.

The NFA reports that the trade show continues to grow, with approximately 90 exhibitors presenting the latest and greatest in pyrotechnics at this year’s Expo. The Shogun branded Band-Aids get my vote for the most unique novelty item; while I recommend investigating the newly-introduced services being provided by ChemTel, Inc. and, separately, Mirage International Trading Company; however, you’ll need to contact these companies directly to learn more about their specific services.

In my opinion, 2008 promises to be another fantastic year for Chinese fireworks manufacturers, as well as for United States consumers and spectators. See y’all in Billings, Montana (for a lawyer, the name alone makes me want to attend).

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