(WIVB) — All across the area, the night sky will be lighting up with fireworks on the Fourth of July. No matter where you decide to watch the glows of red, white and blue – it’s likely they started out right here in Western New York.
For decades, Skylighters has been the masterminds behind most of the fireworks displays you see, whether it’s at the Mercy Flight Bash, Downtown Buffalo when the clock strikes midnight each New Year, or the many fireworks displays on Independence Day.
“When I do get that customer to come up, and they’re talking about this great firework display, I let them kind of build up the suspense and let them tell me all about it, then I’ll let them know we produced it,” said company owner Matthew Shaw.
A lot goes into planning each display, especially when it comes to the Fourth of July weekend.
“It starts many, many months ago or even a year in advance, sitting with the customer, finding out what their needs are,” Shaw said.
Skylighters fireworks are imported from Southeast Asia. Every fall, Shaw says the company makes the trip to create and test each one before starting mass production.
“That’s, you know, eight to ten months lead time by the time it’s manufactured and delivered to my facility,” he said.
Skylighters employs more than 120 people who oversee roughly 350 fireworks shows each year. Over Independence Day weekend, the company puts together about 65 shows. Shaw said it’s a lot of work, but he wouldn’t want it any other way.
“As soon as January 1 rolls around, we’re in full swing for the holiday just to be able to accommodate that much work,” he said. “It’s an amazing feeling that we have that local presence and we’re able to produce what we do for the community. There’s not a lot of firework companies left in the country. There’s a lot of regulations, and to be able to be here and produce it for our community is an amazing feeling.”
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Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here and follow her on Twitter.