You haven’t seen anything until you have the opportunity to see the Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI) Convention light up the sky like last August in Mason City!
Competitors from all over the world gather at the PGI Convention Competition. Their website states, "At the convention pyros presented ball shells, cylinder shells, Italian style shells, comets, rockets, mines, ground effects, lance work and more that you don’t see any where else. Most evenings the public is invited to the fireworks shows, and you won't want to miss any of the shows!" They were right about that!
We had reserved grandstand tickets months in advance thanks to the foresight of family to see the last night exhibition called the Grand Public Display. The show had people lined up outside the fairgrounds for almost an hour, since it brought in thousands of fans. The pyromusicals ranging from small to large shows was the most thrilling. Nothing we ever saw before compared to this. Some of the shows reminded me of the water dances in Las Vegas as the race track at the fairground was filled with fireworks from end to end, going off together with a graceful flow of ground displays along with massive (some 16 inch shells) fireworks bursting into the sky in perfect choreographed rhythm to the music with a punctured boom now and again. You could tell countless hours were put into each show by a talented chorographer months ahead, down to the people who loaded and positioned the shells that day. Photos alone didn’t seem to do justice to this event, so we taped some video that is on the paper’s website with the story.
Scott and Mary Sindelar from Fort Atkinson have attended 17 conventions all over the country beginning in 1997. “We only missed Fargo, ND in 2004 since 1997. You have to be a member of the PGI to attend the convention, but the shows are open to the public. There is an opening show on Sunday and a closing show on Friday, along with one or two other nights during the week. Thursday is always a rain date. When there isn’t a scheduled show, there are fireworks going off almost constantly from 4 p.m. to 1 p.m.,” explains veteran pyrotechnic Scott Sindelar.
Every few years the annual convention and evening fireworks shows come back to Mason City. I guarantee, you won't want to miss it!