Fireworks on the River

If you are a local, or a regular visitor to Laughlin—especially if your visits are on holiday weekends—you are aware that the Avi Resort & Casino doesn’t simply wait for the Fourth of July to set off a major fireworks display. Nope. Beginning in 1996, and continuing every year since, they have been filling the skies above the Colorado River with the amped-up creations of Zambelli Internationale Fireworks on Memorial Day weekend, the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend.

Well, Labor Day Weekend is upon us, and thus, the Zambellis launch rockets, as part of the Avi’s “Fireworks on the River” show on Sunday, September 3 (8 p.m.), into the sky above the river with ideal seating at the Avi’s Beach Overlook. There will also be vendors, food and beer.

These displays are not only a chance for guests to enjoy big time fireworks but a chance for Zambelli to test new pyrotechnics and stretch their creative legs.

“This year’s Labor Day display will incorporate over 2000 different pyrotechnic effects in the air,” states John Hagan, project manager for Zambelli Internationale. “Zambelli will be using handmade display shells that include brand new specialty ‘shapes’ in the sky, such as ‘smiling faces,’ ‘hearts,’ ‘Saturn rings,’ among others.”

According to Hagan, the shells are constructed in Zambelli’s New Castle, Pennsylvania main plant and are created specifically for the Avi show.

“Our highly skilled craftsmen assemble the shells as the orders come in for specific displays,” explains Hagan. “From start to finish the display takes several months of planning and preparation—from selecting the music to carefully choreographing the shells to fire at the precise moment it is called for in the music.”

For the Avi display, Zambelli will utilize several low to midlevel design segments that employ multiple positions and both symmetrical and asymmetrical “looks.”

“Our vertical fronts, such as ‘comet’ and ‘star mine’ firings, require several launch positions, creating a wall of pyrotechnics,” states Hagan. “Angled trajectory products such as candles and multi-shot devices, will be used strategically in our display design. Some examples of the design looks that we intend to highlight are ‘crossing tiger tails’, ‘zipper cakes’ that present a back and forth sweeping motion, and ‘angled candle segments’ fired in a chasing pattern from left to right, and vice versa. This years display has been choreographed to create a multi level design effect.”

“The Zambelli crew works in tandem with a local radio station to simulcast the music for The Avi’s fireworks show,” explains Hagan.

Because Zambelli sets off the fireworks for the show across the river from the Avi’s beach, the river itself becomes part of the canvas. And because most of Zambelli’s shows incorporate some patriotic theme, that canvas will shine red, white and blue.

It can be seen Zambelli knows how to make a show to match the occasion. After all, their motto is “When the sun goes down, we shine.”

“Zambelli’s lead pyrotechnician for this display has been working on the Avi fireworks displays for two decades and certainly knows what the crowd has come to expect from Zambelli,” states Hagan.

Those expectations are high because Zambelli has been involved in some pretty impressive displays. Their pyrotechnics have been televised on “MSNBC Investigates,” the Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel and the BBC—and they have lit up the sky at presidential inaugurations; at Disneyland and Disney World; at Super Bowl games; and at the “Thunder Over Louisville” spectacular at the Kentucky Derby. And more importantly for us, they get to test their skills at the Avi three times a year.

In other words, there will be lots of crazy stuff going on in the sky. And all of it set to music.


Sky above Beach Overlook

Sunday, Sept. 3, 8 p.m. (Free)