Behind the scenes with the Grucci Fireworks family

His family name is synonymous with some of the largest fireworks displays in the world and Phil Grucci has prepared a show with some special touches for Turning Stone Casino's 20th anniversary on Saturday night.

"You'll see things like the number twenty in the sky, during Frank Sinatra's When you're Smiling, you will see smile shells burst on the word smile," said Grucci as he and his team set up on Friday.

Every firework shell is wired to a circuit and controlled by two laptop computers during the show. It takes takes between an hour and an hour and half to design each minute of a fireworks show in the Grucci's studio

"This show we will be shooting down to1/100th of a second with our computer system so it's a little different than a couple guys with a flare," said chief pyrotechnician Dan Havens.

Grucci workers have been setting up near Turning Stone for the past four days and handling highly explosive shells in sweltering heat. A portable tent provides so shade, and plenty of water is on hand. Grucci will also have the fire department spray down the dry grass around the staging area before the show starts.

Phil is the fifth generation of the Grucci family to design and build fireworks shows and says effects that would have been impossible twenty years ago can be commonly worked into shows by the design team.

"Now we're putting computer chips inside of some fireworks to control the heights. So now I'm sitting here seeing my son, my daughter, my nephew -they're the sixth generation of the family - what are they going to come up with when it's their turn?" asked Grucci.

After the Grucci team leaves Verona, they are on to Oswego for their traditional Harborfest fireworks show next weekend.

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