Sunday, July 3, 2011 | 4:21 p.m.
Under the desert sun Sunday afternoon, pyrotechnicians atop Texas Station's parking garage loaded cylinders with fireworks and weaved intricate wire designs.
Soon a labyrinth of wires and shapes was born that belies the burst of colors set to dance across the skies tomorrow night for Station Casinos' "35th Anniversary, 4th of July Blast."
It was the final preparation day for Station Casinos properties that will launch fireworks on the Fourth of July: Aliante Station, Fiesta Rancho, Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort and Texas Station.
Robert Inga, chief pyrotechnician for Grucci’s Fireworks, based in New York, is no stranger to the boom-filled business. He’s been a pyrotechnician for 15 years, having got his start after a friend suggested the career to him.
It’s taken him all over the world, including Dubai, Shanghai and parts of Europe — and, after all this time, the thrill of each launch still excites him as the colors light up the sky.
“There’s a child in all of us,” he said, while helping set up at Texas Station. “You never get bored. You have kids from one to 100 (years old) enjoy it.”
Larry Goetz, producer for Grucci’s Fireworks, said this year’s nine-minute show, which will be identical at all Station properties, features heart-shaped fireworks and love-themed songs to go along with Station’s “We love locals” campaign.
The fireworks company begins preparations for the next year’s show several days after the Fourth of July, a nearly yearlong process to bring the show to life, Goetz said.
The numbers, perhaps, tell the story even better: It takes four days and 700 hours to set up the shows at the five locations and 100 hours to choreograph and design the shows, which use nine miles of wire, 63 firing batteries and require 317 firing cues.
The show begins at 9 p.m. at the five properties, but officials advise attendees to arrive early to secure a spot in the following public viewing areas:
Aliante Station: parking lot area (Music will be broadcast on KVGS 107.9 FM via live radio remote)
Fiesta Rancho: parking garage rooftop, Garduno’ patio or parking lot (KDWN AM 720 live radio remote)
Green Valley Ranch Resort: backyard pool area (KOAS 105.7 FM live radio remote)
Red Rock Resort: northeast surface parking lot facing Charleston Boulevard (KKLZ 96.3 FM live radio remote)
Texas Station: Parking lot C off Rancho Drive entrance near Lake Mead Boulevard (KCYE 102.7 FM live radio remote)
“I think people need to give themselves a little extra time and be patient,” said Lori Nelson, spokeswoman for Station Casinos. “From whatever side of town they’re on, they’re going to be able to see the show,” she added.
Despite a chance of rain in the forecast tomorrow, Goetz said he hopes the show will go on like it has all other years.
“Rain doesn’t affect us at all,” he said, adding that wind is actually the tricky issue.
In fact, overcast skies make for a better fireworks experience, he said.
“It actually makes the show louder because it amplifies the sound,” Goetz said.
After the show, the pyrotechnicians wait for their coveted sound — yelling and applause.
“That’s the satisfaction we get after,” Inga said. “It’s like we’re headlining in Vegas.”
Texas Station, modeled after the Lone Star State, is a AAA Three-Diamond rated hotel with 200 rooms, a casino, restaurants, bars and lounges, an entertainment showroom, a movie theater and a bowling center about six miles from the Las Vegas Strip.
It features 91,000 square feet of gaming space with more than 1,775 slots, 27 table games, a non-smoking poker room, a 500-seat bingo hall and a race and sports book.
The hotel has several dining options, from quick eateries to restaurants, including Austin's Steakhouse and Texas Star Oyster Bar. Some family-friendly features include an 18-screen movie theater and a bowling center.
South Padre provides live music weekly. The Dallas Events Center seats up to 2,000 people for concerts and other live performances.