HOW TECH IS MAKING FIREWORKS BETTER AND SAFER

Firework safety is vitally important, especially when it comes to your at-home display. Luckily, new technology in fireworks is making them far safer than ever before. Here’s a quick look at how new advances are making it less scary to set off retail fireworks in your backyard.

Apps for Lighting Fireworks

In the old days, you’d have to manually light off all your retail fireworks, putting you in big danger if one had an untimely explosion. Now, there are plenty of ways to launch your fireworks remotely – including your smartphone.

Smartphone apps are one of the biggest advances in firework tech. One such app, called FireFly, works by using Bluetooth to connect to a controller box. Simply connect your fireworks to this box, then you can remotely trigger them with a few taps on your phone from up to 100 feet away.

Because FireFly lets you plan out your show in advance, you just have to press once, and all your fireworks will automatically launch at the correct time. You can even sync up music for a relaxing atmosphere or halt the show entirely if there is a problem.

Simulation Software

Planning out fireworks shows is always tricky, especially if you’re not entirely sure what each effect will look like. That’s where simulation software like ShowSim or Finale Fireworks comes in. Both of these programs give you complete control over your show from start to finish. While they are mostly designed for professional pyrotechnics, there’s nothing stopping the casual firework enthusiast from trying out the program.

You’ll be able to preview your effects and time your blasts perfectly synced up to music, all hooked up to voice-cue firing.

Pixel Burst Fireworks

Ever wonder how certain fireworks effects work, like cool shapes and designs? The leading force behind some of the best effects is pixel burst fireworks, a true revolution in firework tech.

These special fireworks are loaded with a microprocessor to control the speed they come out of the mortar. This determines the height at which they explode in the sky, meaning that with some careful planning, unique shapes and figures can be created. For example, pyrotechnics can launch off squares, hearts, and even smiley faces for a fun finale to any show.

Drones and Fireworks

Many advanced pyrotechnics are even starting to use drones in their fireworks displays. Drones play an integral role in many modern retail fireworks shows, as they allow people to capture the explosions on video from an aerial vantage point.

What’s more, new technology allows drone pilots to control hundreds of drones at once, creating beautiful shapes and patterns that mimic the look and feel of aerial fireworks.

As you can see, technology in fireworks has come a long way since the Chinese first launched off the first firecracker. Advances in firework safety and technology have made these celebratory rockets a truly coveted treasure.

When you’re ready to see just how advanced technology in fireworks has become, browse our firework coupons to find a great deal. Contact us today to see how we can help power your next backyard display.

BEST FIREWORKS AND FOUNTAIN DISPLAYS

Needing a little inspiration for your next fireworks display? Consider creating a display that uses aerial fireworks and fountain fireworks. When combined, these two types of retail fireworks transform the boring night into a festive celebration.

What Are Fountain Fireworks?

Fountain fireworks are a type of retail fireworks that don’t get launched into the air, they stay firmly put on the ground and spray a projection of sparks around the area, generally up to 10 feet into the air.

Fountains earned their name because of their startling similarity to a water fountain, where water sprays up and down in streams. Due to this, many people think of them as water fireworks. They pair great with other retail fireworks for a show of light that takes up the ground and sky. Basically, they’re a good way to mimic the look of this excellent water fountain and fireworks show, but without the water fountains.

Use Fountains to Start the Show

What’s a better way to grab your audience’s attention than with fireworks right in front of them? Using fountain fireworks to start your aerial show draws the viewer in and blows away their expectations. For example, check out this excellent fountain firework show, featuring spinning lights, cascading sparks, and plenty of pops and bangs.

Now just imagine a huge aerial firework exploding overhead after the last light on the ground fades to black. It can’t get much better. Just always be sure to follow proper firework safety, keeping spectators far enough back from the fountains.

Use Fountains to End the Show

Generally, the finale to a fireworks show is all bang. Most people launch off all their remaining retail fireworks for a brilliant display that overtakes the sky and sets your heart pounding in your chest,but what if you took a different approach and lit up the street instead of the sky?

Many different fountain displays start small, then explode into a torrent of sparks, such as the finale to this street fireworks show. Simply light the fountain while you’re still shooting off aerial fireworks to give it time to build up, and then let the sparks take control after you’ve launched your last aerial rocket.

Use Fountains to Make the Ground Glow

Want to create an eerie or chilling atmosphere that makes your aerial fireworks stand out that much more? Consider using fountain fireworks to make the ground glow, such as in this fireworks display in Montreal. Timed with sultry music, the glowing red fountain fireworks makes it feel like the ground is coming alive.

Since the fireworks are being set off in front of water, the reflection below enhances the effect even further.

There are plenty of amazing fireworks and fountain displays out there. Use your creativity to come up with a show that will impress your audience (while keeping firework safety in mind). When you’re ready to stock up on supplies, use our firework coupons to buy everything you need.

Ready to get started? Contact us today to order everything you need for a spectacular show featuring fountain water fireworks.

BEST PRACTICES FOR SPARKLER PHOTOGRAPHY AT CELEBRATIONS

Wondering how those people on your Facebook or Instagram feed produce such cool looking sparkler photos? From hearts made of light to a glowing cursive sprawl that spells your name, there’s a lot of fun things you can try when you learn how to photograph sparklers. Here are a few tips for taking the best photos of sparkler fireworks at your next big celebration.

Take Pictures With a Real Camera

Sure, your smartphone might take great pictures in the daylight. However, it wasn’t meant capture nighttime shots. The best camera to use to capture sparkler fireworks in action is a DSLR, as this camera lets you adjust your settings exactly where you need them to be.

Some of the settings you should tweak on your camera include:

ISO – You’ll want a higher ISO than normal, as this increase the amount of light in the photo. There’s no need to go too high, however – an ISO of 400 should suffice.

Shutter speed – You’ll want a long shutter speed, as this is the only way your camera will get enough light to process the image. Anything longer than three seconds is ideal.

Aperture – Your aperture doesn’t have to be anything too extreme; settling for an f8 setting will provide good depth and keep your subject in focus.

Manual focus – Your camera won’t be able to autofocus in the dark, so you’ll need to set the focus manually. Have someone hold a flashlight on the subject while you adjust the lens to perfectly focus on your subjects.

Try a Tripod

You’ll need to be extremely still when taking the photo, otherwise it will look blurry and out of focus. Unless you can channel the stoic nature of a statute, consider hooking up your camera to a tripod. It will keep things stable so you can take as many shots as you want.

Use Longer Sparklers

Unfortunately, sparkler fireworks don’t stay lit for very long. If you’re planning on doing multiple photos takes, you’ll need to move fast if you want to capture it all with a single sparkler.

One way to circumvent this issue is to use longer sparklers. Not only does this prevent your subjects from burning their hands, but it also gives you more time to take that postcard-worthy snap. Always look for sparklers that are at least 10 inches in length.

Wait Until Dark

You might be tempted to try and get some cool shots of sparklers while the sun is setting, but you’ll probably just end up being disappointed. For the fun illuminated effect to truly shine, it needs to be as dark as possible out.

This means you should wait for at least an hour after the sun has set to start having your photo shoot. Additionally, stay away from lights, cars, and anything else that could brighten up the background.

If you follow these tips, you’ll learn how to photograph sparklers in no time. All it takes is a bit of practice. Stock up on the sparklers you’ll need for your celebration by shopping our large catalog of fireworks today.

CAN YOU GUESS OUR TOP-SELLING FIREWORKS?

Ever wonder what our most popular retail fireworks are? Our customers definitely have their favorites when it comes to our huge selection of products. Here’s a list of our most frequently purchased fireworks and why you should consider adding them to your collection.

Piquins

Looking for some of the best fireworks on the market? Try our Piquins, which are an Alamo Fireworks exclusive. They’re a fan favorite because of their unique behavior. Once you light them, they spin around on the ground and then shoot up into the air in a shower of sparks. Let the buzz thrill and excite you with this six-pack of fireworks.

Voodoo Balls

For more aerial excitement, choose our exclusive Voodoo Balls. Each package comes with 12 different shells that each have their own unique color pattern and breaks. Marvel at red trail red chrysanthemums with green tiger tails, jumbo gold chrysanthemums, and many more.

Full Contact

Sometimes, you just need a firework that flies high and bursts into a beautiful shower of sparks. That’s where the Full Contact set comes in. This seven-pack of fireworks offers wide-bursting breaks that will illuminate the night above you. These are a great choice for the climax in your homemade fireworks show.

The Sword

This firework is worth a purchase for its package alone, which comes in the shape of an epic broadsword. While it’s technically just a large roman candle, The Sword is the perfect prop for a legendary battle of the night. Just be sure to hold The Sword away from your body and don’t point it at others, as sparks shoot far and wide from the tip.

Beast Mode

For another medley of aerial fun, try the Beast Mode fireworks set. As retail fireworks go, you can’t beat this assortment of display-worthy rockets. It comes with six different shells for a multi-theme effect, including a brocade crown with blue, red wave with silver strobe, purple peony with green strobe, chrysanthemum to red and green, silver tri-crackling flower, and a silver palm with green strobe.

Rowdy Crackers

Sometimes, you just want to make a bang. The Rowdy Crackers firecracker set is the solution to this problem. This 100-firecracker box even comes with waterproof fuses so you can light them in less-than ideal weather. Set a few of these on fire on a warm summer night and savor the feeling of being alive.

Jumping Jacks

If you don’t have the space for an aerial display, Jumping Jacks are your next best alternative. As soon as you light these ground fireworks they spin, buzz, jump, and squeal around. It will be hard to keep your eyes on all the action these little balls of fire produce.

You can probably see why these are our top-selling fireworks, as they are all as amazing as they sound. Want to get in on the fun? Place your order online today, or stop by one of our various locations throughout Texas. For more help choosing the fireworks that are right for you, simply contact us.

THE HISTORY OF FIREWORKS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Believe it or not, fireworks are not a modern invention. In fact, they have a storied past that stretches back thousands of years. Curious to know how it all began? Read this guide to learn more about the history of fireworks and how they evolved into the colorful displays we enjoy today.

Chinese Origins

Historians believe the very first fireworks originated in China, specifically in ancient Liuyang. In particular, the Chinese started making firecrackers out of bamboo stalks in about the second century B.C. to help keep away evil spirits.

However, these mini firecrackers soon weren’t enough to occupy the Chinese, so they devised a better solution. Alchemists created a solution of sulfur, potassium nitrate, and charcoal to create the first gunpowder. Previously, they had been relying on the air pockets of the bamboo to explode when heated. To make it more interesting and enticing, the Chinese started stuffing these pockets with gunpowder instead. These were finally fireworks-worthy seeing, as they created a loud blast that thrilled and excited.

The Continued Evolution

Now knowing the power of fireworks, the Chinese couldn’t stop there. They devised paper tubes to replace the fragile bamboo sticks, allowing them to use the explosions for more than just cleansing the air of bad spirits. They were among the first to discover how to use bombs to attack their enemies, attaching firecrackers to arrows and then launching them into battle.

From here, it was only natural to devise bigger and better explosives that could be powered without the use of arrows. It was eventually this rocket technology that allowed them to create the first aerial fireworks.

The Migration to Europe

Naturally, such a potent weapon couldn’t stay secret forever. The formula for gunpowder made its way to Europe in the 13th century, where scientists and military leaders began experimenting with it as much as possible. It was there the musket and cannon emerged; two powerful devices that would change the course of warfare forever.

However, that wasn’t the only way that gunpowder was used. People also used to it celebrate religious festivals and as a form of public entertainment. People who handled fireworks were known as firemasters, and their assistants were called green men (aptly named because they wore hats made of leaves to keep their head safe while lighting the fireworks).

Fireworks continued to grow and spread throughout the Renaissance, and the Italians were the first to add metal and other additives to create different colors and sunbursts. From this point forward, fireworks became similar to what we know them as today.

The explosions of the past have changed quite a bit compared to fireworks today. While China is still the world’s leading producer of fireworks, and we still use firecrackers to celebrate and delight, there’s so much more we can do with our explosives. Bright colors, dazzling sparks, and timed releases are just some of the differences with fireworks today.

See the difference for yourself by checking out the variety of fireworks available in our catalog. Better yet, stop by our warehouse to see our wide selection in person.

6 FIREWORKS SAFETY TIPS YOU NEED THIS SUMMER

Lighting some fireworks in the backyard to celebrate the end of school, 4th of July, or summer birthdays are a great way to provide some needed entertainment. However, safety should always come first. If you plan on setting off some fireworks soon, follow these fireworks safety tips to keep you and your family safe.

1. Keep Pets Inside

Let’s be real – most pets hate fireworks. They’re loud, bright, and unpredictable, all of which can be scary to an innocent dog or cat. Rather than give your pet a heart attack, always keep them inside when the show begins. Even if they’re the most calm dog you’ve ever known, fireworks might make them react in an unexpected way. They could run off to try and escape, or worse, they might try to attack the fireworks. Play it safe and just take them out of the equation.

2. Have Water or a Fire Extinguisher Nearby

Even professionals can have accidents when lighting off fireworks. If the firework sparks or explodes on the ground, it could start a big fire. Even worse is if it hits a nearby building or car. This is why you should always have some means of putting out a fire at the ready. Fill several buckets of water or have your fire extinguisher on standby just in case things get out of hand.

3. Watch Your Kids

This should be obvious, but keep an eye on your kids once the show starts. Children are naturally curious and might try to go to the launch area to see what’s happening. They might unwittingly step too close to a lit rocket and get seriously injured. To appease their natural curiosity, give them some kid friendly fireworks. This will keep them occupied while keeping them out of harm’s way.

4. Leave the Alcohol Alone

Again, this is another common sense tip, but never try to light fireworks if you’ve been drinking. You’re blasting a rocket off into the sky, so you need a clear head to minimize the chance of an accident. If you drunkenly knock the rocket over or stand too close when it’s about to go off, you could seriously injure yourself or others. Save the drinks for when the show is over.

5. Read the Instructions

Don’t just assume that all fireworks work the same. Some will need specific setups to function properly. Check all packaging to make sure you’re setting things up right.

6. Dispose of Spent Fireworks Properly

Never try to relight a firework that didn’t take. It was a dud and can’t be reused. Here’s how to dispose of used fireworks:

  • Soak them in a bucket of water to ensure they’re fully wet
  • Place them in a metal trash can until the next day in case of any sparks

Of course, these are just a few of the biggest fireworks safety tips to follow. Many of the others are common sense, and be smart with your displays this summer. Ready to stock up for your show? Check out our catalog of fireworks today.

DALLAS FIREWORKS FANS: NEED A PLACE TO SHOOT?

People boarding a plane in the tarmac during sunset.

Are you planning on taking a trip soon? If so, you might have one burning question on your mind – can you fly with fireworks? Maybe you snagged a few great deals from our catalog and want to take them to your cousin across the country. Or maybe you want to make your beach vacation a little bit brighter with some celebratory pyrotechnics. Either way, here’s what you need to know about firework laws and planes.

You Can’t Fly with Fireworks

Sorry to break it to you, but federal law prevents you from flying with fireworks. It doesn’t matter what state you live in – as long as you’re on a plane in the United States, you can’t bring fireworks onto it.

This includes both checked baggage and carry-on baggage. Even small fireworks, like sparklers, are also prohibited. But why?

Firework Safety on Planes

The main reason the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) cites for not allowing fireworks on planes is perfectly valid. They pose a major safety threat.

Even if your fireworks are packaged safely and securely, they are still extremely flammable. Fireworks are made to explode, so imagine if one started to spark on the plane mid-flight. Following firework safety procedures is essential for helping planes arrive in one piece.

What Happens if You Try to Sneak Fireworks on the Plane?

First of all – don’t. This is just asking for trouble, and you’re putting your safety and the safety of everyone else at risk.

But if you were to accidentally pack fireworks and not realize, the procedure might go something like this. A TSA agent will likely detect the presence of fireworks in your bag and perform a bag check to confirm their suspicions. If you’re lucky, they’ll simply confiscate the fireworks, check for any other forms of explosives, re-scan your bag, and let you on your way. While everyone behind you in line will hate you and you’ll lose several minutes of your time, this scenario isn’t so bad.

However, if you were to sneak the fireworks onto the plane and then get caught, you’ll be in much more trouble. This is a violation of the Hazardous Materials Regulations, which prevent you from taking flammable materials on a plane. The penalty for such a violation can be up to $75,000 per occurrence.

Things are even worse if your fireworks cause an accident. If anyone dies, gets severely injured, or property is destroyed because your fireworks explode in flight, you can be charged up to $175,000 per violation. Even worse, if you get a criminal conviction, you could face up to 10 years in jail.

How to Safely Transport Fireworks

Ok, so you definitely can’t fly with fireworks. How do you get them from place to place?

  • Invest in a spark-proof container to prevent any fire from breaking out
  • If driving, put the fireworks in your trunk, not the backseat
  • Keep fireworks out of sunlight

Of course, the easiest way to transport fireworks is to buy them from us. We offer free shipping across the country, meaning you won’t have to worry about firework laws regarding transportation at all.

MAKE YOUR OWN BLACK SNAKES

DIY black snake fireworks

If you live in an area where shooting off roman candles and Saturn missiles simply isn’t an option, then you’ll have to stick to smaller fireworks. One great option are black snakes, which are small tablets that explode into a long squiggle of ash when lit, resembling the coil of a slithering snake. While they are relatively inexpensive to buy, black snakes are great DIY projects for young adults because the process is simple and takes just a few minutes.

The Ingredients for Black Snakes

You only need four ingredients to make your own black snakes – three if you’re feeling lazy.

The essentials are:

  • Powdered sugar
  • Baking soda
  • Alcohol or lighter fluid

For a cooler effect that has the snake emerging from the ground, also gather some sand.

How to Make Black Snakes

The process for making black snakes is nearly as simple as the ingredient list. However, a lot of precaution should be used to be safe.

  1. First, take 4 teaspoons of powdered sugar and mix it with 1 teaspoon of baking soda. If you want a bigger snake, you can use more, just stick with the 4-to-1 ratio.
  2. Second, if you’re using sand, form it into a sand mound and make a hole in the top. Otherwise, just make sure the sugar and baking soda are in a fire-proof bowl.
  3. Third, cover the sand with the alcohol or lighter fluid, or sprinkle it directly on the mixture.
  4. Fourth, just pour the mixture into the hole in the sand and bury it.
  5. Fifth, it’s time for the action to begin. Light either the sand or the mixture in the bowl, and you’ll see the tell-tale snake begin to emerge from the flames.

Once the snake is burning, never throw more fuel on top of it. This could lead to a dangerous fire.

Making Black Snakes Without Fire

Let’s say you don’t have access to fire or accelerant. That’s perfectly fine, because there’s an alternative method that lets you create black snakes without a flame.

In this version, you’ll just need to substitute sulfuric acid, such as a drain cleaner, in place of the baking soda. Place the sugar on the bottom of a bowl or beaker, and then slowly add in the acid.

Once the two begin to mix, the reaction will happen automatically. First, the sugar will start turning brown and eventually darken to black, creating the familiar snake-like shape.

How Do Black Snakes Work?

The chemical method behind your DIY fireworks is a little tricky, but it helps you understand the process.

When the sugar and baking sodium catch on fire, this causes a chemical reaction that breaks down the sodium bicarbonate into sodium carbonate, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. The result is the burnt-out black ash you are familiar with.

Up Your Firework Game with Alamo

DIY fireworks is just one way to make fireworks fun. However, if you want to up your firework game and leave fireworks to the professionals, check out our catalog of fireworks that are ready to go. All you have to do is light them for a night of fun and celebration.

OUR FAVORITE FIREWORKS QUOTES ABOUT LOVE, LIFE, AND CELEBRATION

City Night Fireworks

“We shall go wild with fireworks…And they will plunge into the sky and shatter the darkness.
We don’t have any fireworks that big” ~ Natsuki Takaya

“Life isn’t always about fireworks. Your fireworks will come, Sarah. And they’ll fizzle out just as fast. Life’s an experience, not a destination. All of us have the same destination, but not one of us has an identical experience. You’ll find someone who will be there when the fireworks fizzle out and the sky turns black and love you just the same. That’s the one to hold onto.” ~ Marilyn Grey, Bloom

“Every firework begins with one spark.” ~ Unknown

“Fireworks burst through the dark night, fiery blooms amongst the stars. Rainer is less interested in the display than in watching Autumn’s expressions, how they light up her face just as she smiles, like a perfect real-life photograph.” ~ Angela Abraham

“Fireworks can make us both happy and sad. It just depends if we are talking about fireworks in the sky or fireworks with another.” ~ Anthony T. Hincks

“I ignite the wick, and the firework takes flight. In that moment, I wish my existence were as simple as being set on fire and exploding in the sky.” ~ Adam Silvera, More Happy Than Not

“Touch was important. The evening of the Third of July we would go around the neighborhood and look at the fireworks others had bought, taking them out of the brown paper sack and handling them cautiously as if they were precious stones. There was envy when we saw sacks with more in them than we had.” ~ Paul Engle

“The world needed more fireworks- especially now that there was going to be a shortage of beautiful, useless things.” ~ Scott Westerfeld

“The fireworks went on for nearly half an hour, great pulsing strobes, fiery dandelions and starbursts of light brightening both sky and water. It was hard to tell which was reality and which was reflection, as if there were two displays, above and below, going on simultaneously—one in space-time, mused Max, and the other in time-space.” ~ Sol Luckman, Snooze: A Story of Awakening

“I always have the most fun on the Fourth of July. You don’t have to exchange any gifts. You just go to the beach and watch fireworks. It’s always fun.” ~ James Lafferty

“When you are ready for fireworks instead of sparklers, I will come for you.” ~ Erin Van Vuren

“People gather on the beach like crabs, music can be heard from a nearby hotel. Suddenly everything is still, no voices can be heard, not even waves splashing on the shore. Everyone was fixed on the skies as the countdown to a new year arrived. Suddenly a burst of color lit up the sky. Happy New Year, how sweet it is to be alive.” ~ Keegan Maynard

“Laughter is the fireworks of the soul.” ~ Unknown

Bring the beauty and excitement of fireworks to your next celebration or event. Contact Alamo Fireworks and one of our friendly, knowledgeable representatives will be happy to assist you.

VALENTINE’S DAY AND FIREWORKS: HOW TO BECOME A ROMANCE LEGEND

Wish Fountain

Let the sparks fly!

Romance is about the unexpected, the excitement, the adventure, and what could better encompass all those things than fireworks! Instead of the tired old traditional Valentine’s Day fare, step outside the box and give your sweetheart something they don’t expect, something that expresses your love in a very creative, fun way. We thought we’d share some unique ideas for Valentine’s Day. Enjoy!

Let her make a wish at the fountain.

There is something so beautiful and quintessentially elegant about a fountain firework. They have the captivating flash of a sparkler, but the height and drama of a Roman candle. They are more low key that other fireworks, but that only adds to the breathtaking display. Arrange for some dreamy music and the two of you can share a romantic dance by the light of the sparkling fountain. She’ll remember it (and you) forever.

Give her cupcake some sparkle.

A cupcake with a sparkler has long been a sweet, romantic gesture for everything from birthdays to graduations – and they are usually of the plain, silver variety. What you may not realize is that sparklers come in a variety of colors. But if you really want to impress, these heart shaped sparklers will never disappoint! You can’t get more romantic than a sizzling heart atop a sweet, baked treat.

Give her flowers.

Flowers are a Valentine’s Day favorite, but when you give her these flowers you can bet it will be a first. Ground fireworks give a lovely display that is intimate enough to keep it just between the two of you. The Large Camelia Flower is a ground flower that gives off a stunning array of red and gold sparks. There’s also the Crackling Ground Bloom Flower, also a spinner with sparks of green, red and gold, along with delightful crackles. Now those are flowers she won’t forget!

Make her Valentine’s Day pop.

Add some pop to a toast or just delight her with a confetti-filled surprise by bringing a few party poppers to your romantic dinner. All you have to do is pull the string and colorful streamers and confetti are released with a pop! These are perfectly safe for indoor use, no fire needed. They’re even safe for children, with adult supervision, of course.

Show some sparkle with long exposure photography.

Set your camera’s shutter speed to long exposure and use a sparkler to “draw” a heart or “write” a sentiment. The camera will capture everything that happens while the shutter is open and what you will get is a somewhat blurred trail of the light source – wherever you directed it. If you “draw” a heart with a sparkler, then that is what the final picture will show. You can use the photo to make your own soppy, romantic Valentine’s Day card for a creative, fun, original twist.

Of course, a romantic fireworks display is always a hit too and we have everything you need to make it happen. Why not show us some love this Valentine’s Day while giving your sweetheart a Valentine’s Day she won’t soon forget. At Alamo Fireworks, we have a wide selection of romance ready fireworks that will ignite her passion and light her fire. You’ll be a romance legend for sure!