Behind the Scenes of Knoxville's Fireworks Show

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knoxville (WVLT) - You can't beat a good fireworks show on the Fourth of July, and thousands of you will be heading to downtown Knoxville for a show of colors in the sky.

The city estimates about 60,000 firework lovers will pack downtown and Worlds Fair Park on this Independence Day.

However, since Oak Ridge has canceled its fireworks, Oak Ridge officials say thousands of their regular attendees could spill over here.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy has a behind-the scenes look at the fireworks show they and you can expect.

It's a new show with new surprises and a brand new location. Before they light the sky, technician Randy Heatherly hard wires them all.

"Right now we're pretty much doing the finishing touches for the wiring," Heatherly said.

Thousands of shells packed full the of the red, white and blue. All fired electrically.

"We'll definitely be shooting pattern shells the crowd will be familiar with most of them," Heatherly said.

But some pack a surprise.

"Something like a dollar sign, shooting stars, and hearts," Heatherly said.

New effects with a new launch location.

"This year the difference is we're shooting fireworks from the Henley Street Bridge," Heatherly said.

A twist Heatherly says will give the show a whole new look, but it takes a whole lot of wire-work.

"Our lives our on the line when we're dealing with explosives, hot explosives," Heatherly said.

Exactly why he says you shouldn't set-off your own shells. Countless hours go into the exact timing, distance and pre-show wiring.

"We're always looking at the way the wind's blowing and of course crowd control," Heatherly said.

And part of that means parking control.

"There will be plenty of parking when you get down here," Knoxville Communications Coordinator Randy Kenner said.

But where? If it's legal, not private, and not marked off limits,every spot is up for grabs. Free of charge.

The spot selection: You've got 645 spaces on Locust Street, 700 in Market Square and State Street offers 842, and you can park to watch the shells go off at the coliseum.

A shuttle will you run to the Fourth festivities every 30 minutes. Still with between 50 and 60 thousand expected here...

"You want to get here early if you can," Kenner said.

Because at 9:35, Heatherly promises a show to remember. Organizers advise you to get downtown no later than 8:00. Besides the Independence Day, Wednesday will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1982 World's Fair.

There'll be music, shopping, and crafts all throughout World's Fair Park.

There's also a major road closure you need to be aware of.
Because of the fireworks being shot off of the Henley Street Bridge, the city will close it beginning at 2p.m. It will stay closed until at least 11, or until they clean up the fireworks. You can take the Gay Street Bridge, the South Knoxville Bridge, or Alcoa Highway.


Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to webmaster@wvlt-tv.com. Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus

WVLT VOLUNTEER TV

6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 8312952 - local8now.com/a?a=8312952