NewsPinellas County


St. Petersburg redeems itself in 2019 fireworks show after canning the previous year

Contractor canned 2018 show for "technical issues"
Posted at 5:44 PM, Jul 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-04 23:18:36-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Boom or bust! The pressure was on in St. Petersburg for this year's Fourth of July fireworks to wow the crowds.

Last year's show was canceled with the contractor Creative Pyrotechnics citing "technical difficulties." Thankfully, St. Pete residents were able to enjoy fireworks in 2019.

The city appeared to have redeemed themselves after Thursday's show. St. Pete leaders were confident the show would go on.

The new contractor, J & M Displays, said they were ready.

Karyn Jansen is hopeful. She and her friends attend the festivities every year and they often set up in the early morning hours.

The 2018 show left her frustrated and fuming.

“They didn’t even give us an explanation they were just like there are no fireworks,” Jansen said.

Last year's contractor, Creative Pyrotechnics, called off the fireworks just 45 minutes before showtime.

Jasmine Spencer was equally disappointed.

“Everybody was waiting for hours for it to happen and it never did,” she said with a sigh.

Charles McKinley, who works for the new contractor J & M Displays says this show will not disappoint. They have more than 1,000 shells which have been set up since Wednesday. His company puts on 1,300 shows a year, 800 alone on the Fourth of July.

“We survive by word of mouth so when we put on a show, we put on a show!” he exclaimed.

Mckinley says they also have built-in fail-safes, including two different computer systems.

“So if one goes down, I can hot swap into the other one and have less than three seconds of dead air by the time the next computer picks up,” he added.

Julia Garrison and her friends can't wait.

“Sometimes we learn lessons the hard way so hopefully tonight’s show will be epic,” she said with excitement.

St. Pete is suing Creative Pyrotechnics, the company that put on last year's show, for $60,000. That money was used by the city to pay overtime for police officers, EMTS and other city employees.