I remember piling into the family car and driving to the Henry Vilas Zoo to watch the fireworks. People from all over Madison would search the park grounds for a patch of grass with an unobstructed view free of tree branches. As it became dark, we would anticipate the boom of a blank which would be fired off to silence the crowd and start the display. Finally one would soar overhead and explode into a myriad of blazing color. "Ooh. Ah!" the crowd would exclaim.
The echoing of blasts from pyrotechnics were not the only sounds heard. Howler monkeys would chime in with their cries. Camels, bison, and emus would join in the choir of discontented howls. Winky the elephant would trumpet out his confusion. Disgruntled peacock’s hoots would pierce the night. Then the lions would begin to roar and join in the choir of restless and distressed animals.
The finale would come when several rockets were lit by hand and sent up all at once. The crowd would cheer in amazement. Tired, but happy, we would stumble back to the car and drive home. The zoo animals would quiet down, relieved the deafening sounds had ceased
Years later, the zookeepers spoke out about the displays and how it stressed out the caged animals. Eventually, the fireworks were moved to the neighborhood parks located throughout Madison.
This year we drove down to Folsom Field on CU’s campus for the fireworks display. They are now computerized and timed to music. Crowds soon filled the stadium. There would be no obstructed views in here. After a wonderful and heartfelt sing-a-long including “This Land is Your Land,” and concluding with, “The Star Spangled Banner,” the show was ready to begin. My family and I speculated on where they were going to be shot from. I was amazed to see they all were blasted from small boxes set on the north end zone bleachers.
What a fantastic display! I wanted to share my photos and video of the finale. No animals were stressed out in this presentation. Well, maybe a few neighborhood dogs and cats.
I love the special effects feature of my camera.
It was fun to play with color that seemed to be drawn on the sky. I will have to wait until next year to experiment again!
Watch the finale!