When baseball fans throughout the DMV celebrated the Nationals’ World Series win last fall, everyone knew there would be no shortage of confetti along the parade route but few considered the origin of that confetti. A team at Pyrotecnico was on the job to make it happen.
The part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival known as Petalpalooza features plenty of excitement including a dazzling fireworks display. Again, Pyrotecnico delivers.
Although currently these and many other cherished public events are on hold, the memory of them, and the knowledge that they will someday reappear is an important part of our national psyche. Believing in a future that once again includes public celebrations depends on our ability to still envision confetti and fireworks. As always, Pyrotecnico will be there when these visions again become real.
Founded in Italy more than a century ago, and now based in New Castle, Pennsylvania with 13 facilities across the U.S., their website states, Pyrotecnico has been “amplifying excitement since 1889.” Today, Rocco Vitale serves as Vice President of Live Events for Pyrotecnico and his brother Stephen is CEO and President. They represent the fourth generation of their family to operate the company.
While there are other companies that create fireworks displays or deliver confetti to parade routes, Rocco said, “We are pretty unique in that we offer fireworks displays, lasers, and special effects. We are the only company in the United States with services that broad. We are the only one to do it all in house without subcontracting any of it.”
In addition, Pyrotecnico offers streamers, fog, bubbles, flames, and other special effects for everything from TV commercials to music concerts. Their client list includes professional sports organizations, resorts, orchestras, universities, professional entertainers and many more. From hotel grand openings to wedding anniversaries and corporate events, or helping a city celebrate its bicentennial, Pyrotecnico creates the magic that helps make many of life’s most memorable occasions unforgettable. They have done Super Bowl halftime shows and they have put on the fireworks display for DC’s July 4th celebration many times (but they are not currently the vendor for that show). “We have been doing the National Cherry Blossom Festival show for at least 15 years,” said Rocco.
The company’s flexibility and broad service offerings were on full display for the Nationals. “When they had a fireworks request, we do the fireworks display. When they ask for close-proximity fireworks for home runs, we are their company. When they decided to enhance their gameday fireworks display during the playoffs, we did that with pyrotechnics around the rim of the stadium and the scoreboard,” Rocco explained.
Besides being a live-entertainment company, Pyrotecnico considers itself a logistics company. Rocco said, “We deal with challenging weather, travel, and logistics on a daily basis, and each show or venue can provide unique challenges. We are experts at moving people, equipment, and product all over the world.”
Also known for unique choreography and impeccable synchronicity, Pyrotecnico has won many international awards. “Our creative team is constantly raising the bar and scouring the globe for new technologies,” said Rocco, as he explained, “Relationships are one of the biggest things. We build relationships with vendors and manufactures. These people are dreamers too. We produce the show but a lot of creative people who make the products behind the scenes work together to create unique experiences.”
Social media makes it easier. “With social media, it’s so much easier to find what you are looking for,” said Rocco. “We watch a lot of shows. We have to see what else is going on in the marketplace. For instance, one of our main suppliers is a Spanish company. They are also Disney’s largest provider so we can see what they do there and create conversations off that.”
Everything Pyrotecnico creates is customized. Sometimes clients have an existing show that they have done for years. Rocco said, “After you ask questions about the site and determine the best viewing area, we provide a quote.” If a client has never done an event before, Rocco explained, “We walk them through the process. We meet face-to-face to walk the site. Then we do measurements to see what products you can fit from a safety standpoint. Some clients are extremely hands-off and some are extremely tied to the process and want to be involved in creative decisions. We have multiple ways of looking at it. Video is one way and there is software to help visualize a show. Technology has come a long way.”
Pyrotecnico also offers free training for those interested in becoming a certified pyrotechnician. “Fireworks technicians for the most part are freelancers and a lot of them are hobbyists,” said Rocco. For a peak day like Independence Day, he said, “You can’t service all that business with full time staff so you go find freelance techs. It’s a great community of people who are mostly hobbyists. They love to do it in their free time.”
Geoffrey Abraham, the company’s brand manager, added, “We have been able to use this slower period to look inward and improve many of our own procedures and operational standards of safety excellence. We will come back stronger than ever. Putting smiles on people’s faces is more important than ever.”