Wednesday, July 2, 2008 | 5:03 p.m.
To cap its annual Fourth of July celebration last year, the city of Henderson tried something different, launching fireworks from the roof of City Hall.
Lantis Fireworks played it safe and put on what President Ken Lantis called an “easy show and it was an OK show.”
But this year, he said, the fireworks display experts at Lantis plan to “really blow you away. (It will) not even be close to what it was last year,” he said.
This year, Lantis Fireworks will be pulling out all of the stops, Lantis promises, for a 15-minute fireworks show at Henderson Events Plaza, 200 S. Water St. in downtown Henderson, that’s taken 80 hours to choreograph.
“You’ll see some unusual items that have not been in the United States yet,” he said. “We have a variety of things that (explode) 100 to 200 feet off the ground and a lot of things that (explode) 500 feet off the ground.
“It’s more of a balanced show” than last year. “Last year we had to keep it close to the ground.”
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Like the 2007 show, the Henderson Symphony Orchestra will be accompanying the fireworks display with the Tchaikovsky’s famed “1812 Overture” — which isn’t as easy as it sounds for Lantis Fireworks or for the Henderson Symphony Orchestra.
“We’ve shot with everybody, including the Boston Pops,” Lantis said. “They know what we’re shooting and we’re following along with them the best we can. It’s just hard.”
Henderson Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor Taras Krysa said the timing is so critical to pulling off the music-fireworks synchronization that he has a walkie talkie to communicate with the fireworks team, while one of the fireworks engineers has the sheet music to follow along with.
“It’s a challenge,” Krysa said. “Precise timing that must be involved because the fireworks must come in a certain place in the piece, the banging-type of music that signifies the firework salute.
In fact, last year the Henderson Symphony Orchestra and the fireworks teams were off by about one minute, he said, “but the listener doesn’t normally pick up on that.”
The Henderson Symphony Orchestra will also perform a concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. July 4, at the Justice Court Stage, 243 S. Water Street, in downtown Henderson.
Among the popular and patriotic pieces the orchestra is slated to perform: Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” and “Saturday Night Waltz,” Sousa’s “Washington Post March,” Berlin’s “God Bless America,” as well as “Star-Spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.”
And Lantis Fireworks will shoot a different 15-minute fireworks show beginning at 9 p.m. at Anthem Hills Park, 2256 N. Reunion Drive.
“There’s not a show in the United States that is going to be the same thing — not even the same music,” he said. “We want people to say, ‘That was different. I’ve never seen anything like it before.’ ”
Besides the fireworks, both locations will offer activities and entertainment, beginning at 6 p.m. at Henderson Events Plaza and 7 p.m. at Anthem Hills Park, with the fireworks shows closing out the festivities.
The Events plaza will feature musical performances by Beatles tribute band The FAB, and a performance by Henderson Symphony Orchestra prior to the fireworks show. A second stage sponsored by KWNR 95.5-FM New Country will feature singers Randy Anderson and Emily West. A water play area for children and other activities will be available, as well as food vendors. Shuttle service will be available from Morrell Park, 500 Harris Street.
Admission to the celebration is free, but $10 wristbands are required for some of the activities, such as children’s paddle boats, children’s water slide, giant slide, bounce house, water wars and dunk tank.
KOAS 105.7-FM (The Oasis) will host live entertainment at Anthem Hills Park.
Shuttle service will be available from Coronado High School, 1001 Coronado Center Drive.
Annette Mullins, special events coordinator with the city of Henderson, said last year 40,000 patriotic revelers attended the city’s July 4th activities at Henderson Events Plaza. She expects at least that number this year, plus 20,000 at Anthem Hills Park.
“If you’re looking for activities for kids, go downtown,” she said. “Anthem Hills is more of a laid-back jazz show for adults.”
Another fireworks extravaganza is “Lights Over Vegas ,” a nine-minute July 4 fireworks show by Grucci’s of New York at six Station Casinos properties, including Green Valley Ranch Resort, 2300 Paseo Verde Parkway,and Sunset Station, 11301 W. Sunset Road.
The fireworks show, which begins at 9:30 p.m., will be choreographed to music paying tribute to America and the spirit of Las Vegas and will include songs from artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Frank Sinatra, John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, Yes, James Brown, ZZ Top and Copeland.
The musical score to “Lights Over Vegas” will be simulcast live on four radio stations, including KKLZ 96.3-FM, KCYE 104.3-FM, KFRH 102.7-FM and KDWN 720-AM.
Besides the Henderson July Fourth events, area water parks and pools — Sunset Pool, 2601 E. Sunset Road; Whitney Pool, 5700 E. Missouri St., and Paradise Water Park, 4770 Harrison Dr. — should be popular attractions with free noon to 4 p.m. swimming.
And don’t forget about Boulder City’s 60th Annual Damboree, which offers an all-day celebration beginning with a 7 a.m. Pancake Breakfast at Bicentennial Park, Utah and Colorado Streets; 9 a.m. parade; ceremonies and midway booths at Broadbent Park, between Fifth and Sixth Streets on Avenue B; and 6 p.m. fireworks and festivities at Veterans’ Memorial Park, Buchanan Boulevard and Airport Road.