Punching the Clock: Rockets' red glare

Staring into the black Independence Day night from a stretched-out Indian blanket, the sky was set on fire.

Erupting with brilliant showers of colored light accompanied by shock waves of bursting sound that echoed across the City of Norwich, I was brought back to fond childhood memories of fireworks on the 4th of July.

Always fascinated with the displays and longing to launch one off myself, I contacted Majestic Fireworks Inc., in anticipation of this year’s show to see if I could get a closer look.

The company’s owners, husband and wife Edward and Joan Bielby, were brave enough to invite me down to the Chenango County Fairgrounds this past weekend as they set up 1,153 fireworks used in Norwich’s show.

Arriving at around 2 p.m., with two extra crewmen, it still took the couple nearly five hours to set up.

“Why do I do it?” said Ed, repeating my question in a tone to make me feel like I had asked a stupid one.

“The thrill of it, the feeling of being on the edge – the show to me is the best part,” he said.

“We always joked that if he got killed doing this, he’d die doing something he loved,” said Joan, who darted a comical yet concerned look at her husband, who responded with a glance and a grin.

Obviously, a couple after my own heart.

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