Seminar Prep – Part 1, Weighing and Mixing:

Steve Wilson

1a

Anyone that makes fireworks has to master the technique of weighing and mixing chemicals to make compositions. WWB offers workshops where participants can build various fireworks that contain things such as cut or pressed stars. In this workshop, we will weigh and mix the compositions needed for subsequent workshops that will make the cut and pressed stars. The actual star requirements vary from year to year.

Steve Wilson 

got his start pyrotechnically as a boy when he and his brother Bob used to mix and burn whatever they could get their hands on. This included toy caps, ammonium nitrate from the local citrus farmers, calcium hypochlorite tablets for the Doughboy pool, and sulfur from the Gilbert chemistry set. Steve had a lot to learn back then…

Eventually, he acquired a copy of Weingart’s book, discovered American Fireworks News and then the PGI. Steve’s fireworks got a little bit better. In 1988 he had the crazy idea of starting a pyro club in the western USA and soon after the WPA was formed.

Formerly a lighting roadie with some 70’s bands like ZZ Top, Chicago, and Styx, he still works in local community theater as a lighting designer, technician, and equipment fabricator.

Burst Workshop: 

Mike Garrett

WWB offers seminars and workshops where participants can build various fireworks such as round ball shells and Italian-style cylinder shells.  Breaking or bursting these shells requires having on hand different types of bursts ranging from polverone to rice hulls and cottonseed coated with various kinds of black powder mixes. In this workshop, we will get to work making whatever is needed for subsequent seminars requiring burst.  The actual burst required varies from year to year.

Mike Garrett 

is a country boy stuck in Silicon Valley by circumstances.  He recently retired from high tech and relaxes by dabbling in pyrotechnics, fishing, woodworking, traveling, hiking, and photography.  In 2010 he rediscovered his love of fireworks and joined the Western Pyrotechnic Association and the PGI.  He’s having so much fun with Black Powder that he can hardly control himself.  Don’t get him started talking about fireworks unless you have an hour to kill.

Seminar Prep – Part 2, Fusing/Sub-Assembly 

Seminar Staff

1b 

All those seminars and workshops take a lot of supplies that need to be prepared so you can enjoy your week. Get your hands dirty with some of the preparation work such as cutting quick match, visco or timefuse. Time fuse needs to be cross-matched and black powder lift needs to be weighed out. The exact requirements vary from year to year.

Cut Stars Workshop – Part I: 

Steve Wilson

3a

In this workshop, we will go over the principles of cutting stars, which is the most basic form of making stars for aerial shells, mines, and rocket headings. We will touch on the few tools necessary, handling of different kinds of compositions, aqueous vs. non-aqueous binding systems, and priming and drying of stars. We will then break into groups and make stars for use over the next few days

Steve Wilson 

got his start pyrotechnically as a boy when he and his brother Bob used to mix and burn whatever they could get their hands on. This included toy caps, ammonium nitrate from the local citrus farmers, calcium hypochlorite tablets for the Doughboy pool, and sulfur from the Gilbert chemistry set. Steve had a lot to learn back then…

Eventually, he acquired a copy of Weingart’s book, discovered American Fireworks News and then the PGI. Steve’s fireworks got a little bit better. In 1988 he had the crazy idea of starting a pyro club in the western USA and soon after the WPA was formed.

Formerly a lighting roadie with some 70’s bands like ZZ Top, Chicago, and Styx, he still works in local community theater as a lighting designer, technician, and equipment fabricator.

Safety Training (How to be a Safety Volunteer): 

Greg Dandurand, Darrell Flis

4

The WPA and WWB is run by volunteers and you are encouraged to volunteer for as many things as you can. The Safety Volunteer area in particular needs to be fully staffed or the shooting lines shut down until they are staffed. You can be a Safety Volunteer with just a few minutes of training. It’s not difficult, can be done by anyone who is willing and is a great way to meet other club members. Greg and Darrell will make sure you are comfortable with being a Safety Volunteer.

Greg Dandurand 

has been in pyro clubs since 1999. He started in the Michigan Pyrotechnic Arts Guild (MPAG) and is a current member of the Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI). He has been a member of WPA since 2002. He has worn the hats of President, Safety Chair, and BATFE Liaison for this event. He is a Head Pyro for a company that shoots shows in the Phoenix area.

Darrell Fiss

Darrell Fiss gained most of his Safety knowledge by accident.  At age 6 he experimented with fire in the family garage where the fire turned out good and the Volunteer Fire Department responded quickly. When Darrell was about 10 he and a few friends experimented with homemade cannons. They used ½” pipe with an end cap for the barrel, a charge came from a “Blockbuster” firecracker, and marbles or ball bearings were the projectiles. Their test range was a sandbox in the local playground and the target was the wooden shutters on the local Curling Rink across the 2 lane street. Imagine the excitement as they tried to extinguish the lit fuse 

Class B Safety Class: 

Greg Dandurand

5

To light your product on the B-line you need a sticker on your badge. That sticker tells the line Safety that you are qualified to light your product. Attend this quick seminar and learn how to safely conduct yourself out on the B-line. Each participant will light one B product under the watchful eye of a trained professional (well, mostly). When he is satisfied that you will be safe then you will get a sticker on your badge.

Greg Dandurand 

has been in pyro clubs since 1999. He started in the Michigan Pyrotechnic Arts Guild (MPAG) and is a current member of the Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI). He has been a member of WPA since 2002. He has worn the hats of President, Safety Chair, and BATFE Liaison for this event. He is a Head Pyro for a company that shoots shows in the Phoenix area.

New Member Orientation: 

Dennis Miele, Greg Dandurand

6

New to the WPA or first time at Western Winter Blast? This seminar is just for you. Attendees will be given a brief history of the WPA, an overview of our policies and safety procedures. Time will be given for individual questions and answers followed by a guided site tour of the WWB site given by some of our current officers and key staff personnel. Get the lay of the land in the sunlight! 

Greg Dandurand 

has been in pyro clubs since 1999. He started in the Michigan Pyrotechnic Arts Guild (MPAG) and is a current member of the Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI). He has been a member of WPA since 2002. He has worn the hats of President, Safety Chair, and BATFE Liaison for this event. He is a Head Pyro for a company that shoots shows in the Phoenix area.

Dennis Miele

got his start in fireworks in 2001 helping a study group friend with a hand-fired 4th of July show in Mission Viejo, CA.  Two more hand-fired shows that season and Dennis was hooked, becoming a licensed pyrotechnician for Pyro Spectaculars in 2002, shooting many large and small shows ever since.  He started attending WWB (unofficially) in 2001, becoming a member of WPA in 2002.  Dennis is a prolific volunteer often seen on the B line doing volunteer safety.  He is currently Secretary of WPA and loves (almost) every minute of it! 

All About Pressed Stars, Comets, and Color Changing Stars: 

Ben Smith

7

This seminar will detail the general techniques, hints, and tips of working with star plates, color-changing insert plates, and comet pumps.  Formula, guidelines, and shop safety will all be covered.  Though this class will use the FireSmith line of star plates, color-changing pressed star plates and multi-comet pumps, the basic techniques, and safety guidelines are applicable to just about any pressed star construction method. New this year, the presentation will also cover the production of color-changing pressed stars and color to report pressed stars. 

Ben Smith

started his pyro career at an early age.  As a boy, he saved his pennies throughout the year just to be able to visit the fireworks stands during that one great week in July.  While in elementary school, he was exposed to the world of rocketry and began constructing sugar and BP rockets.  This led to the experimentation and construction of other pyro devices.  Ben currently owns and operates FireSmith Pyrotechnic Tooling.  Through this enterprise, he has designed and currently manufactures over 150 different tools and machines used to construct a wide variety of pyro devices.

Public Display Workshop – Part I

Crash Course Pyrotechnics

8a

Crash Course Pyrotechnics is Monty Gill and Monica Blam. So you want to work on a public display? Well, call your local fireworks company a few weeks before Independence Day, they will put you to work… Or, sign up for this workshop and work with professional pyrotechnicians. Learn how to safely plan, build props, prepare products, fuse, wire, and teardown a show. Most people get paid to do this kind of work, but not us! Sign up for this multi-session workshop and learn from professional pyrotechnicians. We’ll teach basic show preparation and some extras: building mines, props, and placing products built by other member workshops. We will shoot what we’ve built along with other contributions and purchased products in a choreographed display.

Monica Blam! 

has been working firework shows since 2014, has been licensed since 2017, and attending winter blast since 2015. Her interest in art, rock ‘n’ roll, punk, and metal music has given her a sense for appreciating the subtle elegance and refinement in fireworks.

Monty Gill 

crewed his first public display Independence Day 2006 and has not looked back since. He joined the WPA a few years later. When not working as a professional bio writer, he is doing mature adult things. Definitely not reading comic books, playing video games, watching cartoons, going to heavy metal shows, watching horror movies, shooting stuff, or playing with fireworks.

Walking Tour Shooter Lines/Firing Lines: 

Greg Dandurand

9

This walking tour gives participants a look behind the scenes not normally afforded to the public.  If you plan to do open shooting in the evening but haven’t been out on the firing lines this orientation is perfect for you to attend.  During this walk, we will go to the various WWB firing sites at SARA Park.  Doing this during the daylight will certainly help you navigate the rocks, stones, pebbles, dips, and washes off the back area where the shooting lines are located.  We will discuss how to be a Safety, and how to make the Safeties happy (and everyone safer)  when you bring your live product in during open shooting

Greg Dandurand 

has been in pyro clubs since 1999. He started in the Michigan Pyrotechnic Arts Guild (MPAG) and is a current member of the Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI). He has been a member of WPA since 2002. He wears the hats of President, Safety Chair, and BATFE Liaison for this event. He is a Head Pyro for a company that shoots shows in the Phoenix area

Pressed Star Workshop: 

Ben Smith

10

In this workshop we will use the FireSmith hydraulic press, along with star plate sets in three sizes to do some limited production of stars for any members who sign up for the class or bring over their own comps to process. The press will remain in Tent 3 all during WWB should someone wish to come back and press out additional materials.

Ben Smith

started his pyro career at an early age.  As a boy, he saved his pennies throughout the year just to be able to visit the fireworks stands during that one great week in July.  While in elementary school, he was exposed to the world of rocketry and began constructing sugar and BP rockets.  This led to the experimentation and construction of other pyro devices.  Ben currently owns and operates FireSmith Pyrotechnic Tooling.  Through this enterprise, he has designed and currently manufactures over 150 different tools and machines used to construct a wide variety of pyro devices.

Cut Star Workshop – Part II (Priming): 

Steve Wilson

3b

Remember those cut stars you made on the first day? They need to be primed and Steve will show you how to do that. After this step your stars need to finish drying and then can be added to shell, rocket heading or mine.

Steve Wilson 

got his start pyrotechnically as a boy when he and his brother Bob used to mix and burn whatever they could get their hands on. This included toy caps, ammonium nitrate from the local citrus farmers, calcium hypochlorite tablets for the Doughboy pool, and sulfur from the Gilbert chemistry set. Steve had a lot to learn back then…

Eventually, he acquired a copy of Weingart’s book, discovered American Fireworks News and then the PGI. Steve’s fireworks got a little bit better. In 1988 he had the crazy idea of starting a pyro club in the western USA and soon after the WPA was formed.

Formerly a lighting roadie with some 70’s bands like ZZ Top, Chicago, and Styx, he still works in local community theater as a lighting designer, technician, and equipment fabricator.

Build-yer-own-dang-dola: 

Jackalopes

11

Presented by the Jackalopes in co-conspiracy with Al Stahler and associates. To the delight and fright of countless, the Jackalopes are once again presenting their ‘Build-yer-own-dang-dola’ workshop. We will guide you from start to finish down the path of building a 5 gallon bucket bottom girandola (or “girandon’t” as we tend to call them). This will be a hands-on seminar where you get to build one of these gyrating devices of delightful terror. After completion, we will store it for safekeeping. Then after each evening’s public display, we will wait for you to return so you can set a flame to fuse. 

Logistics:

We anticipate the capacity for building about 20 girandolas over the duration of the event. All materials, tools, and knowledge will be provided. The plan is to forgo the traditional single timeframe for the seminar and host a girandola building team one at a time. Building sessions will be sprinkled throughout each day starting from Thursday to Sunday 10:30 am to 2:30 pm building time. Contact jackalope.billy@gmail.com to reserve a building session spot. $15 material fee. Covid cootie prevention mask required during building session regardless of how good your 5G reception is.     

Note: The Jackalope Outer Space Port will be open Thursday to Sunday night after the public display and once the backfield is cleared by safety staff. Yes, you can light your girandola here even if it was not built in this seminar. You just need to double promise it cannot possibly fly too far from Jackalope Gulch.

About the Jackalopes… 

If you ever wondered if them wabbits with horns are for real –  wonder no more. Hailing all the way from the dusty domains of Dismal Nevada, Jackalope Brand Fireworks is more conceptual than physical. Drawing inspiration from Maltese, Tultepec, and early Americana pyro traditions. Jackalope Brand wants to remind folks that pyro has a rich and varied vernacular. To these ends, the members of Jackalope Brand draw on a wide array of artistic talents including, but not limited to, pyro art, machine art, painting, paper mache, blacksmithing, cardboard art, set construction, and audio design. The most important takeaway is that the Jackalopes put the fun in pyro!

Pyrotechnics From the Ground Up: 

Joseph Madziarczyk

12

“Pyrotechnics From The Ground Up” is a class that focuses on giving the beginning pyro a better understanding of the commonly used pyrotechnic devices and how they are made. If you have seen a specific firework and wondered, “what the heck is that?” or “how did they make that?” then this class is for you. Come if you want to get a better understanding of the various pyrotechnics devices, vocabulary, and safety. This is the class where you can get your questions answered.

Joe Madziarczyk 

is an accomplished fireworks maker concentrating on the Italian style of shell building. He is an award-winning photographer of fireworks; he has served as a national judge for PGI fireworks competitions and as the San Diego Area VP for WPA. During his career in fireworks, he had been both a consumer dealer of fireworks and a display operator. But most of all, he loves teaching pyrotechnic basics to beginners.

5″ Ball Shell Workshop: 

Mike Garrett, Jim Widmann

13a

Ever wondered how round ball shells are made? Then this workshop is a good place to start.  This workshop will teach you how to make your own 5” paper ball shell. Working with experienced shell builders, you will get hands-on knowledge that will guide you in building a ball shell that looks and performs just like the pros.  There are two workshop sessions:  The first session has a short tutorial and discussion followed by the assembly and wrapping of your shell. A fleet of WASP machines will be used to expedite this procedure. The shell is then dried overnight.  On the following day, in the second session, you will apply the lift and leader to the shell.  Your shell can be fired that night in a special area just for us.

Mike Garrett 

is a country boy stuck in Silicon Valley by circumstances.  He recently retired from high tech and relaxes by dabbling in pyrotechnics, fishing, woodworking, traveling, kicking a soccer ball, and photography.  In 2010 he rediscovered his love of fireworks and joined the Western Pyrotechnic Association and the PGI.  He’s having so much fun with Black Powder that he can hardly control himself.  Don’t get him started talking about fireworks unless you have an hour to kill.

Jim Widmann

is a long-time fireworks enthusiast and professional. Jim has shot shows for most of the fireworks companies in the Northeast US and in 1985 started a fireworks display company based in Connecticut. He was a founding member and president of the Connecticut Pyrotechnics Association.

As a kid, July 5th was Jim’s favorite day of the year because he would find leftover dud fireworks from the neighborhood displays and cobble them together into something new and of his own making.   Jim is a 30+ year member of the PGI and has competed and won in many of the display shell categories.  He has a CT display operator’s license and is also licensed in CT as a pyrotechnic manufacturer.  Jim is widely known as the inventor of the WASP automatic shell pasting machine and has sold hundreds of these machines in over 22 countries. In recent years, Jim has successfully built and shot world record shells (up to 62”) in North America and the Middle East.

Fire Dancing: 

Katie Gromlovits

14

Fire Dancing involves the manipulation of ignited props to music by a trained performer. I intend to educate attendees on how to find or become a proficient fire dancer, build fire dance tools, work with materials and fuels, as well as safety guidelines for all things fire dance. If time permits, there may be a demonstration.

Katie Gromlovits: 

Katie has been practicing and touring with fire dance for over fifteen years and has been featured on multiple media productions, tours, publications, and television. She is known throughout the community as a respected leader in the fire art and pyrotechnic industry that strives to create a dynamic blend of fire and movement for a show that is safe, unique, engaging, and always leaves an impression on the audience.

Pyrotography – How to set up to take killer fireworks photos: 

Tom Calderwood

15

Photographing fireworks with a digital camera is a challenge. Tom is an accomplished fireworks photographer who will give many tips during this seminar for getting that *perfect* fireworks picture. The class discussion will include camera and related equipment use, camera settings, computer processing, and setup locations. Tom has a no-secret policy and is more than willing to share if you want to catch him later. He has a passion for the beauty that fire has, and is ever in pursuit of getting better in his craft.

Tom Calderwood 

got hooked on pyro when he was given a (stolen) pack of Black Cats at age 8. He soon discovered Estes and Centuri rockets, and these took priority over ‘crackers, sparklers, and smoke bombs. In the WPA, he found his niche with BP rockets. While his love is still with BP rockets, his health prevents him from building – hence he has copious free time to photograph. Tom is retired and recently found a way to escape from California to Tennessee. Married for over 40 years to the same woman, he has 5 children that can call him ‘dad’ – but it’s not their fault.

Black Powder Rockets: 

Scott Morton, Mason Jensen, Kurt Medlin, Steve Majdali

16

This workshop on traditional black powder rockets is a perennial favorite at Winter Blast. We will demonstrate how to make a “one-pound” black powder rocket. Starting with a few simple tools, a tube, some clay, a few ounces of black powder composition, and a stick, they will explain all the elements that go into making a successful rocket as they demonstrate the technique. Attendees will then have a chance to make their own rocket which they can fire that night. A materials fee will be charged per student.

Steve Majdali: 

is a charter member of the WPA, a member of the PGI since 1984, and is an executive member of the Reaction Research Society (the oldest amateur rocketry organization in the USA). He has been published in several pyrotechnic newsletters as well as Pyrotechnica and American Fireworks News. Always willing to share, Steve has given seminars or demonstrations at every PGI convention attended so far (20 to date) and many more at Winter Blast. A licensed pyrotechnic operator for over twenty years in CA, Steve is a fabricator of pyrotechnic tooling, an amateur chemist, and a pyrotechnic consultant and educator. An electrical mechanic by trade and an inventor/tinkerer by nature, He is mostly self-taught in chemistry, fluid power systems, and writing. He has been a fireworks enthusiast since his youth and learned machining to further his research in pyrotechnics and rocketry.

Scott Morton: 

Scott, a relative newcomer to the organized pyro community, has enjoyed fireworks for as long as he can remember. His interest in making fireworks eventually led to his finding Ned Gorski and Fireworking.com, and then into the pyro community with membership in WPA and PGI.  Scott has become an accomplished builder of ground and aerial fireworks.  His current areas of special interest include Italian Cylinder shells, the glitter effect, and all ground fireworks, specifically items that spin! When not studying or making fireworks, Scott is a fireman and paramedic who enjoys spending time with his wife Amy.

Mason Jensen: 

Hailing from Southern Idaho, Mason is a collector of weird literature, dangerous chemicals, and a reasonable amount of string. He works full time in the family fireworks business, Acme Fireworks. When he isn’t involved with fireworks Mason spends his time relaxing with his small family, cooking large BBQ, and playing miniature golf.

Kurt Medlin 

first began trying to make fireworks around age 10 (with the patient tolerance of his mother and the encouragement of his father!). An avid collector of fireworks books and publications, Kurt acquired copies of the classic texts by Weingart, Davis, and Lancaster by his late teens. A few years later (around age 22 – 1981), Kurt joined the Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI), and the world of organized pyro.

He attended his first PGI convention in 1983, and gave his first seminar at the 1986 PGI convention. Kurt worked his first public fireworks display in 1984. His articles and book reviews have been published in the PGI Bulletin and Pyrotechnica.

Blue Flame Compositions – Color, Purity, Intensity & Chromaticity:

Dr. Dominykas Juknelevičius

17

In this presentation 10 top of the line blue star compositions are compared. Color saturation, luminous intensity, specific luminous intensity, oxygen balance, burn rate, actual and theoretical maximum density, color coordinates (X, Y) are presented and discussed.

Dr. Dominykas Juknelevičius 

is a chemist from Lithuania. He has spent 7 years doing research on illuminating pyrotechnics and last year he defended his PhD thesis on the same topic. Besides scientific work, he shoots firework displays and is also familiar with the craft of making fireworks.

PGI Shooter’s Certification Course, Session I – Classroom: 

Steve McDanal, Karl Maerz, Aaron Enzer, 

18a  

This course is an accepted safety course for licensing in many states. It is a must-do course for anyone who wants to increase their knowledge of current NFPA regulations, requirements, and safety protocols for commercial fireworks displays. The course includes classroom lectures, hands-on fieldwork, and a written test.  Everyone can learn something new from this class. There are 2 required sessions, classroom and live fire/field demonstrations, for those desiring to apply for PGI certification.

Minimum PPE required for Session II:  Safety glasses, hard hat, closed-toe shoes, long sleeve shirt, long pants made of 100% cotton, or other flame retardant material  (leather, turnout gear over cotton). Also bring a water bottle, lunch/snacks if desired, paper (if you don’t like to write in your books), and a pencil, pen, and/or highlighter.

You must have your registration ID prior to the ‘live fire’ session after lunch. Registrants will receive their required WPA “B” firing line wristbands and stickers at the conclusion of Friday’s practice session. Due to a tight time schedule, no information can be repeated for late students.

Steve McDanal: 

Steve has been a member of the WPA and PGI for decades and is currently the president of the Rocky Mountain Pyrotechnics Guild. He attributes his passion in safety to a seminar presented by Dr. Ken Kosanke many years ago. That seminar was an eye opener,since in his younger years, Steve and his brother would spent time throwing various (now illegal) devices and shooting bottle rockets at each other.  Micki (Steve’s wife) and Steve have presented the DOC  for many years in many western states.  While in the Army, Steve ‘played’ with military explosives. Studying pyro accidents and determining their cause is another of his interests.

Karl Maerz 

did not get his bio in time to make our print deadline. But we do know that Karl (aka “Uncle Buck”) is heavily into chemicals, drives big rig loads of said goods around the country, and makes a mean BBQ once the snow has melted to the point that he can find his grill.

Aaron Enzer

is the owner of ACE Pyro, LLC, a display company located in the Great Lakes region.  He has been a long term member of the WPA and PGI, where he is a certified instructor of the PGI “Display Fireworks Operator Certification Course” and previously was the PGI President.  Aaron is also the developer of StarFire computerized firing systems and has use this system to shoot many very large fireworks displays, including the 51.5 Celebration Display near Chicago’s iconic Navy Pier in September of last year (To see a video of this display, please go to vimeo.com and search for ACE Pyro.)

Theatrical Training Workshop – Part I: 

Caleb, Vijay Mepani

19a 

In session one Fire Marshal Vijay Mepani and his associate, Caleb Phillips from CALFIRE will explain the CA Theatrical Licensing Program and answer questions. If you want to get your CA Theatrical License this seminar is just what the doctor ordered. There will be a total of three sessions with a material fee of $50 for the final one. Theatrical Trainees must bring their CA card, wear cotton, long sleeves, long pants, closed shoes, safety glasses, and hearing protection. In addition, bring the usual tools as you will be using them.

Vijay Mepani 

has been with CAL FIRE – Office of the State Fire Marshal for 8 years. For the past couple of years, he served as the Fireworks Program Coordinator in the Fire Engineering and Investigations Division. Recently he accepted the Motion Picture & Entertainment Safety Program Coordinator position.

Caleb 

Public Display Workshop – Part II: 

Crash Course Pyrotechnics

8b 

In this session our Crash Course Display team will work on whatever is necessary, prepping shells, mines and other devices for the Saturday display. Work most likely will include eMatching, mounting devices to hardware and labeling.

Monica Blam! 

has been working firework shows since 2014, has been licensed since 2017, and attending winter blast since 2015. Her interest in art, rock ‘n’ roll, punk and metal music have given her a sense for appreciating the subtle elegance and refinement in fireworks.

Monty Gill 

crewed his first public display Independence Day 2006 and has not looked back since. He joined the WPA a few years later. When not working as a professional bio writer, he is doing mature adult things. Definitely not reading comic books, playing video games, watching cartoons, going to heavy metal shows, watching horror movies, shooting stuff, or playing with fireworks.

Pyros In Training Kickoff: 

Bill Stevenson

20 

Pyros in Training (PIT) is a seminar and workshop series targeted at families and student members, but open to anyone who wants to learn about the basic science and techniques involved in pyrotechnics. In this kickoff session, we will go over program details and safety considerations and get started on planning our display.

Bill Stevenson – 

grew up in the nice part of New Jersey where he was indoctrinated into pyro by his mafioso uncle. By day, Bill is a software project manager in Silicon Valley, and in his free time he enjoys woodworking, leading a Cub Scout den, and spending time with his knockout wife and loving kids. Those children looking starry-eyed at a Disneyland fireworks display brought him back into the pyro fold, and he now uses fireworking to teach himself and his kids science and as a cathartic, ephemeral art form. 

6” Double Petal Peony Shell Workshop: 

Ellen Webb, tbd

21a 

In this hands-on workshop participants will build 6” round double petal chrysanthemum shells. Using the traditional Japanese method, the inner petal will be formed with only black powder-coated rice hulls and tissue paper. It is recommended that participants have some shell-building experience beforehand. The 5” Ball Shell workshop, for instance, would provide an excellent background. There may be a special segment of the Member Showcase on Sunday night in which participants may enter their shells.

Ellen Webb 

is a retired Critical Care nurse who, until very recently, always admired all things pyrotechnic from afar. When her husband successfully battled cancer, they decided it was time to start doing things they had always wanted to do. So in 2017, they went to their first PGI Convention, and a shell-building class was all it took to firmly set the hook. Ellen returned home from PGI with a thumb drive full of pyro literature, 150 pounds of chemicals, and had a cement mixer on order. At the 2018 Convention Ellen entered 4 shells constructed with the same techniques to be taught in the class into Aerial Level 4, and was awarded 2nd Place. Her pyro interests include star rolling and Japanese-style ball shells.

Dipped Sparklers for Beginners – 

Part I: Bill Stevenson

22a – 

Sparklers are among the most basic fireworks effects, and are a great

example to explain the chemistry involved in a pyrotechnic reaction.

Come learn about the roles of oxidizers, fuels, binders, and colorants,

and create your own hand-dipped sparkler.

Bill Stevenson 

grew up in the nice part of New Jersey where he was indoctrinated into pyro by his mafioso uncle. By day, Bill is a software project manager in Silicon Valley, and in his free time he enjoys woodworking, leading a Cub Scout den, and spending time with his knockout wife and loving kids. Those children looking starry-eyed at a Disneyland fireworks display brought him back into the pyro fold, and he now uses fireworking to teach himself and his kids science and as a cathartic, ephemeral art form. 

3″ Beginning Bag Mines Workshop: 

Gina Papini

23 – 

In this workshop participants will learn about several types of mines, a mid-level firework device that sprays lit stars into the sky.  This workshop will concentrate on the basic bag mine which is simple, effective, and easy to build.  Since there are very few wrong ways to make a mine, we will show you most of the right ways. If there is enough time, we will even show you the wrong ways. Each participant will have the opportunity to make a 3” bag mine.  These will be available at the B-line for you to light that same evening. Impress your friends with your newfound pyro-making abilities. There is no extra charge for the advice of the experts (it’s worth every penny).

Victor & Gina Papini 

Victor and Gina Papini work on several pyro crews at night and by day are both retired and run a non-profit daycare (babysitting the grandkids). Victor has loved fireworks his entire life and has some stories to tell about his younger days (can’t print because not sure about the statute of limitations). When Victor joined a pyro crew, Gina also joined so she wouldn’t have to sit at home alone while Victor had all the fun. Victor learned about

manufacturing when he first attended Do-It. He started taping shells on rockets and now puts gasoline in a bottle on rockets. Gina, looking for something to do, started with bucket mines, bag mines, and then progressed to shells. She asked for and got a WASP machine for an anniversary present. Victor also builds shells when he runs out of rockets. Never lighting her own products, Gina lets Victor do the honor while she pretends to take pictures. He thinks she has tried to kill him on several occasions and has since let his life insurance lapse hoping to avoid future “accidents.” Friends Theresa and Jon will be helping out in the seminar to make sure there are no more “accidents.”

DMX Demystified: 

Steve Wilson

24  

DMX has been the universally accepted data stream protocol adopted by the stage/theatrical lighting industry since the early 1980’s. Originally designed to run lighting dimmers, it’s use has expanded over time to not only control moving head (intelligent) lights, but LED’s and other theatrical lighting devices. These days it also is used to control flame machines, foggers, spark machines and even lasers. In this seminar Steve will go over the basic concepts of DMX control including addressing devices, wiring of 3 and 5 pin cables and working with multiple universes. Several practical lighting and FX devices will be demonstrated.

Steve Wilson – jeesh, not again…

Hand Fountains for Beginners: 

Peggy Purner

25 – 

While a sparkler involves adhering a composition to a stick, a hand- fountain encases the composition inside of a roll of paper, protecting it and allowing for greater burn control. Learn how to roll a hand fountain using simple supplies and take it to the C line to enjoy.

Production Mines Workshop (Beginning Bag Mines recommended) – 

Monty, Monica, Steve

26  

In this workshop, participants who have attended the Bag Mine Workshop, will work exclusively on a build order of mines for the Saturday evening display by Crash Coarse Pyrotechnics. Multiples of several star mine designs will be built, eMatched and readied for loading in the display

Bios above

Tips & Tricks: Make AMAZING Displays with 1.4g Fireworks:  

Dan Haines, Sam Christensen

27  

Learn best practices for building incredible shows with fireworks that are not ATF regulated.

Dan Haines: 

Pyro with 15+ years experience. Pyrotechnician at Spirit of ’76 since 2015. 

Sam Christensen: 

Product manager for ’76 Pro-Line. / Marketing and videography person at Spirit of ’76 since 2017.

Lath Wheel Workshop: 

Scott Morton, Mason Jensen

28 

In this workshop we will learn how wheels are built and what effects work best with wheels. Participants will hand ram their own drivers and be given materials and instructions of how to build 2 wheels using a simple lath stick on an axle. You will build 2 wheels for your personal use and enjoyment on the C line, and another that will be featured in a member showcase/display shot on Saturday night.

Bios above

Walking Tour of Manufacturing: 

Bill Ryan

29  

Interested in how fireworks are made? Go behind the scenes in WWB onsite manufacturing and actually watch various pyrotechnic devices being built! You’ll marvel at the ingenuity of your fellow club members as they show various solutions to safety and production issues. Given by the Manufacturing Chairman, Bill Ryan, you will hear how you, too, can join the ranks of Manufacturing! Your questions are welcome throughout the walk.  Must be at least 18 years old.

Bill Ryan 

started his pyro life in 1982 in San Jose, CA by hanging a gerb portrait of “The Duke” (A.K.A John Wayne) from the Spartan Stadium scoreboard.  Bill was hooked and in 1995 became a licensed operator. Bill was an early member of the WPA, and like all true pyro psychos, got hooked on rockets.  He has been quoted as saying, “Anybody can lift a shell with FFa.  It takes an artist to successfully lift a shell with a rocket.”  Many purists in the WPA feel that only the lunatic fringe make rockets, which helped Bill earn the moniker of “head lunatic.”  Several years ago, Bill took over as Manufacturing Chair. He arrived at his first event as manufacturing chair only to find BATFE there with their orange book and directions for us to follow it.  That visit forever changed the layout of manufacturing. Feeling strong that manufacturing is a vital and critical part of the club, Bill’s mission is to maintain a safe and enjoyable manufacturing environment and to safely increase member participation in manufacturing.

Flamethrowers! – 

Katie Gromlovits

30  

Flamethrowers!  This intriguing apparatus has evolved so much over the past century from weapons to special effects. In this seminar, we will go over the safe firing and operation of flamethrowers.  This will include history, safety, materials, various fuels, gases, and maybe even some napalm.  Please bring appropriate PPE (eye protection, water to drink, cotton long sleeves, and pants) and $5 to help cover fuel costs.

“Pyro Katie” 

has been practicing and touring with fire dance for over fifteen years and has been featured on multiple media productions, tours, publications and television. She is known throughout the community as a respected leader in the fire art and pyrotechnic industry that strives to create a dynamic blend of fire and movement for a show that is safe, unique, engaging, and always leaves an impression on the audience.

Electricity and Fireworks: 

Mike Tockstein

31  

A kid-friendly look at the basics of electricity and how it is used in modern-day fireworks productions.  Marvel at the spectacular effects of Mother Nature’s pyrotechnics and how harnessing electrical energy in a controlled fashion not only allows for our modern way of life but also brings revolutionary capabilities to our industry that were otherwise not possible. Explore a simple example of how a firing system operates, how electric matches function, and a number of exciting pyrotechnics and electricity-related videos. 

Mike Tockstein: 

Having an absolute fascination with fireworks and an interest in electronics since he was a kid, Mike promptly earned his CA pyrotechnic operator’s license two weeks after his 21st birthday, and went on to earn his M.S. degree in electrical engineering a number of years later.  After shooting shows for fireworks display company Pyro Spectaculars for a number of years, Mike started Pyro Innovations in 2003 to aid in recruiting people for his fireworks crew.  In 2007, Mike published the most comprehensive online training platform for professional pyrotechnics to pyroinnovations.com, which ended up improving safety, on-site training efficiency, and consistency in training new crew.  Throughout his 20+ years as a licensed pyrotechnician, Mike has performed over 200 professional fireworks displays, been involved in many entertainment and media productions, including Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters,”Spike TV’s “Auction Hunters,” celebrity weddings, major sporting events, TV commercials, Universal Studios Hollywood, Statue of Liberty, Queen Mary, and the L.A Coliseum, to name a few. Mike has worked as an electrical engineer in the Aerospace industry for over 18 years, been published in peer-reviewed journals, holds a U.S. patent, and now enjoys providing unique experiences like Winter Blast for his two daughters.

5″ Ball Shell Workshop – 

Part II: Mike Garrett, Jim Widmann

13b  

In part II of the 5” Ball Shell workshop we will install the timefuse, add lift and leader the shells. Completed shells will be delivered to the B-line for you to light later that day. 

Bios above

PGI Shooter Certification Course, Session II – Live Fire: 

Steve McDanal, Karl Maerz, Aaron Enzer- 

18b 

This course is an accepted safety course for licensing in many states. It is a must-do course for anyone who wants to increase their knowledge of current NFPA regulations, requirements, and safety protocols for commercial fireworks displays. The course includes classroom lectures, hands-on fieldwork, and a written test.  Everyone can learn something new from this class. There are 2 required sessions, classroom and live fire/field demonstrations, for those desiring to apply for PGI certification.

Minimum PPE required for Session II:  Safety glasses, hard hat, closed-toe shoes, long sleeve shirt, long pants made of 100% cotton, or other flame retardant material  (leather, turnout gear over cotton). Also bring a water bottle, lunch/snacks if desired, paper (if you don’t like to write in your books), and a pencil, pen, and/or highlighter.

You must have your registration ID prior to the ‘live fire’ session after lunch. Registrants will receive their required WPA “B” firing line wristbands and stickers at the conclusion of Friday’s practice session. Due to a tight time schedule, no information can be repeated for late students.

Bio’s above

Incendiary Art – Pyrotechnics as Performance Art: 

Todd Hall

32 

From Wikipedia: “The foremost purpose of performance art has been to challenge the conventions of traditional forms of visual art such as painting and sculpture” – and let’s add – pyrotechnics.

Learn about artists that have challenged the conventional norms of pyrotechnics – and why. How the works of WPA members and others break away from traditional pyrotechnics in ways both subtle and extreme. Explore the alternative works of members Todd Hall, Flaming Lotus Girls, and others including Cai Guoqiang and Judy Chicago.

Come explore the differences between performance pyrotechnics and traditional pyrotechnics.

Todd Hall 

is known to his pyro brethren as “Rainbow” because he brings color into the world. He is one of those anonymous guys who mixed pyrotechnics and performance art at the age of 12 behind the barn (black powder, model cannons, and Polaroid cameras). These developed through the 1970s teenage years with flame fire dives at the public pool and matured on stage in his New York college days with anything that could be legally ignited or exploded in public. Todd received a grant from the NEA in San Francisco in the 80s as a guest sculptor & performance artist at the SF Art Institute where he used all that money on crayons and cheap white wine. Consequently, he was never invited back.

PGI Shooter Certification Course – Session III – Test: 

Steve McDanal, Karl Maerz, Aaron Enzer- 

18c  

This course is an accepted safety course for licensing in many states. It is a must-do course for anyone who wants to increase their knowledge of current NFPA regulations, requirements, and safety protocols for commercial fireworks displays. The course includes classroom lectures, hands-on fieldwork, and a written test.  Everyone can learn something new from this class. There are 2 required sessions, classroom and live fire/field demonstrations, for those desiring to apply for PGI certification.

Minimum PPE required for Session II:  Safety glasses, hard hat, closed-toe shoes, long sleeve shirt, long pants made of 100% cotton, or other flame retardant material  (leather, turnout gear over cotton). Also bring a water bottle, lunch/snacks if desired, paper (if you don’t like to write in your books), and a pencil, pen, and/or highlighter.

You must have your registration ID prior to the ‘live fire’ session after lunch. Registrants will receive their required WPA “B” firing line wristbands and stickers at the conclusion of Friday’s practice session. Due to a tight time schedule, no information can be repeated for late students.

Bio’s Above

Dipped Sparklers for Beginners – Part II: 

Bill Stevenson

22b-

After your sparkler from Session 1 has had some time to dry, please return for Session 2 to give your sparkler a second dip in composition so that it looks great. After it dries again, you can take it to the Class C area and enjoy it.

Set Piece Construction Workshop:

Lynden King 

33 

Set pieces, also known as brightwork, have been made for hundreds of years to augment various kinds of displays. Often shown as large words or flags, many approaches to this art can be used, sometimes dictated by materials available and/or how the piece will be displayed. In this workshop, Lynden will discuss some of those popular methods from artistic layout to commercial production. The class will then turn into a hands-on workshop to help build elements of Sunday night’s expanded Members Showcase. Attendees looking for an activity to do for the next few days will find this class fun and useful.

Lynden King 

was first introduced to fireworks displays by John Sullivan of the old California Fireworks Company (Red Devil) when he was 16 years old. John helped Lynden get his license a month after he turned 21 in 1973 and Lynden did his first show a few weeks after that. He has been putting together firework shows for over 50 years and is involved in about 20 firework displays a year, all of which are partially or completely electrically fired. Lynden has been a member of the WPA since 1997 and several years with PGI.

CA Pyrotechnic License Overview: 

Vijay Mepani, Caleb Phillips CASFM

34  

This class will provide attendees with a discussion on the California fireworks licensing system and the various licenses administered by CAL FIRE – Office of the State Fire Marshal – Fireworks Program. 

CAL FIRE/OSFM will provide a presentation on the Fireworks Program topics:

Fireworks Program Overview
Pyrotechnic Operator
Licensing Requirements
Title 19, CCR Proposed Regulations Update
Q & A – Fireworks Program Staff

The Fireworks Program requires the licensing of all pyrotechnic operators, fireworks manufacturers, importer-exporters, wholesalers, retailers, and public display companies. Pyrotechnic operators who discharge fireworks at public displays or launch high-powered and experimental rockets, must also pass a written examination and provide proof of experience. Our goal is to provide a better understanding of the Laws, Regulations for Transportation, Use, and Storage of Fireworks in California. 

Vijay Mepani   

has been with CAL FIRE – Office of the State Fire Marshal for 8 years. For the past couple of years, he served as the Fireworks Program Coordinator in the Fire Engineering and Investigations Division. Recently he accepted the Motion Picture & Entertainment Safety Program Coordinator position.

Caleb Phillips 

has been with CAL FIRE – Office of the State Fire Marshal for just over a year. Prior to that he worked as a Chemical Engineer in Environmental Compliance. Recently he accepted the Fireworks Program Coordinator Position

6″ Double Petal Ball Shell Workshop – 

Part II

21b

Fireworks T-Shirt & Bandana Funshop – 

Cathy Traut-Hessom

35

Make your own fun firework t-shirt or bandana. Using simple materials provided, or what you might bring with you, create a colorful firework-like T-shirt or bandana that you can proudly wear. Come be creative and work with colors! Take home a memento from Winterblast. Open to all ages, let colors and creativity and exploration abound!! And then, wear it! (Or blow your nose in it!)

Cathy Traut-Hessom 

Recently retired early childhood educator after 35 years, Cathy is well known and loved by her students for her artistic and musical antics. So it’s a natural that she has migrated from expanding little one’s minds to blowing things up creatively (but not as insanely as Todd).

Build-yer-own-dang-dola

11

Maltese Shell Lifting Technique: 

Mitch Piatt

36 

With the closure of the Goex black powder facility, Pyrotechnicians will need alternatives to lifting their shells. This seminar will help fill that need by describing the technics used by the Maltese which incorporates a weak, easy-to-make black powder. Lift amounts for various sizes and types of shells will be shared so you will come away with the ability to use their technic immediately.

Mitch Piatt 

In the early 1990 Mitch first found out individuals could make their own fireworks when looking for red arsenic for a rocket tracer formula. Absolutely amazed at the prospect, he joined the PGI that same year and attended his first convention in Auburn-Weedsport, NY. The following year he set out to get a group of hard-working individuals together to form the Florida Pyrotechnic Arts Guild. When the club was incorporated in 1992, he served as its first President and has sat on the board multiple times since. For the past 32 years, he has built fireworks of all types including fountains, rockets, large ball and multi-break canister shells, and even a 75-foot tall castillo. He’s visited Tultepec, Mexico on four occasions and Malta, Europe on seven. Learning on every trip he’s agreed to come and share some of what he’s learned at this year’s Western Winter Blast.

Public Display Workshop- Part III: 

Crash Course Pyrotechnics

8C – 

Integrating Performers and Pyro: 

Katie Gromlovits 

37- 

An introduction to the unique combination of performers and pyrotechnics. Incorporating dancers and live entertainment into your display results in a fantastic outcome of bringing an artistic vision to life.  We will cover the basics of casting talent, safety, and the importance of creative collaboration. 

Katie Gromlovits 

have

Stutatta & Rinfastature: 

Kevin Mather

38 

Using 15-18 stars wrapped around a flash bag, one can make 1 3/4″, 2″, and 2 3/8″ time-fused inserts that can be placed in larger shells for simultaneous or timed consecutive breaks.  By simply changing the fuse assembly, one can also use these inserts for single, or flights of rockets.  This seminar will teach you how to roll these stars around an appropriate flash bag, spike the insert, and use glue or paper to “paste” the insert in.  Skill Level:  Intermediate to Advanced.

Kevin Mather 

(aka “Moonbeam”) has been mixing chemicals and playing with fire since he was given a chemistry set at age 8. When asked about how he got started in pyro, he quickly answers that his mother is primarily to blame. Growing up in Colorado, fireworks were a common part of family celebrations and were actively encouraged by his mother.  Kevin has been quoted saying, “Birthdays, Christmas, Chanukah, the summer solstice, and most days of the week were all celebrated with fireworks in my family.”  Kevin is fascinated by Italian shell construction and attributes this to his love of “cut and paste” in kindergarten. 

PIT Display Planning: 

PIT Staff

39 – 

PIT will be putting on a display in the Sunday Night Member Showcase.

Come be a part of it! We can use all the help we can get!

Theatrical Training Workshop – Part II:

Amanda Nixon, Chris Kelly 

19b – 

Session two will be Saturday, show prep.  1 pm- 4 pm in Hospitality. Amanda will go over the plan for the show setup, share diagrams, loading charts, discussing product and equipment selections and considerations. Then we will paint boards, mount brackets, label products with addresses. The truss will be assembled. Two-component airbursts will be assembled.

For Sessions Two and Three, long sleeve shirts and pants- 100% cotton, closed-toe shoes, safety glasses are required. For Session Three hearing protection is required.

Amanda Nixon 

has been working with proximate pyrotechnics for 49 years. Formerly the Vice President and later CEO of Luna Tech, Inc., manufacturers of Pyropak proximate pyrotechnics, Amanda was also the CEO of Luna Tech Pyrotechnik GmbH in Germany for two decades. Licensed in several countries, she taught theatrical pyrotechnic classes and worked as a proximate pyrotechnician throughout Europe. Currently, she is the CEO of Pyroam, Inc., which distributes a variety of proximate pyro effects and equipment as well as provides pyrotechnic services. 

Chris Kelly 

Bio needed 

Walking Tour of Manufacturing: 

Bill Ryan

29 

See what manufacturing at a WPA event is all about. – 

Interested in how fireworks are made? Go behind the scenes in WWB onsite manufacturing and actually watch various pyrotechnic devices being built! You’ll marvel at the ingenuity of your fellow club members as they show various solutions to safety and production issues. Given by the Manufacturing Chairman, Bill Ryan, you will hear how you, too, can join the ranks of Manufacturing! Your questions are welcome throughout the walk.  Must be at least 18 years old.

Bill Ryan 

started his pyro life in 1982 in San Jose, CA by hanging a gerb portrait of “The Duke” (A.K.A John Wayne) from the Spartan Stadium scoreboard.  Bill was hooked and in 1995 became a licensed operator. Bill was an early member of the WPA, and like all true pyro psychos, got hooked on rockets.  He has been quoted as saying, “Anybody can lift a shell with FFa.  It takes an artist to successfully lift a shell with a rocket.”  Many purists in the WPA feel that only the lunatic fringe make rockets, which helped Bill earn the moniker of “head lunatic.”  Several years ago, Bill took over as Manufacturing Chair. He arrived at his first event as manufacturing chair only to find BATFE there with their orange book and directions for us to follow it.  That visit forever changed the layout of manufacturing. Feeling strongly that manufacturing is a vital and critical part of the club, Bill’s mission is to maintain a safe and enjoyable manufacturing environment and to safely increase member participation in manufacturing.

Introduction to Lycopodium: 

Levi Morin

40 

In the seminar, we will discuss what lycopodium is, where it comes from, how it’s used, and what you can do with it! 

Levi Morin 

is a California native with a passion for flow & fire arts.  He has been practicing fire arts for over a decade. Levi has studied alongside some of the best in the business and is well regarded as an expert in his field.  5 years ago, he was brought on as a performer and the head of marketing for Ignite Firedance and later started the specialty performers effects company FlameFX.

Italian Cylinder Shell Demo: 

Scott Morton, Roberto Ramirez, Steve Wilson

41 – 

The Italian style of shell building is a fundamental method of constructing aerial fireworks shells. Rich in tradition, and using primarily natural materials such as virgin kraft paper, cotton string and wheat paste, shells with great integrity and versatility can be constructed. These can be single break smaller shells, larger component shells or very intricate multi-break shells of great complexity. This construction demo will cover all the basics including materials used, rolling the can, filling with contents, time fuses and spollettes, spiking, paste-wrapping and adding lift and leader.

Roberto Ramirez 

grew up in Pico Rivera, CA, and fell in love with fireworks as a kid.  His fascination with chemistry and fire naturally led him to an interest in pyrotechnics. Roberto joined the WPA in 2004 and hasn’t missed a Winterblast since! His initial interest was to find out how to work on commercial displays which led him to shoot shows with Fireworks America and the Flying Monkeys Pyro Team. In 2006 he took a 4″ Italian shell seminar led by Steve Wilson and decided to focus on making Italian style shells “the old school way”. Roberto has an A.S. degree in Environmental Technology and is currently working at a staging and production company in Southern California.  When not shooting firework shows or cooking (another of his interests) he can be found out and about in SoCal supporting the local punk rock scene.

Basics of Fireworks Chemistry: 

Joel Baechle, Dr. Dominykas Juknelevičius

42 – 

All fireworks are made using a wide range of chemicals. Knowing what chemicals do what, and devising formulation for all of the various effects is a fascinating field to study and work with. In this seminar, two of the best pyro chemists of our time will go over the essentials including oxidizers, fuels, modifiers for color and sound, as well as binding strategies for most common fireworks compounds. Attendees will come away with a good foundation of pyro chemistry theory and some tried and true formulas.

Joel Baechle 
Dr. Dominykas Juknelevičius

Bios on file

Constructing Multiple Types of Rockets with One Set of Tooling: 

Ben Smith

43 – 

This seminar will detail the general construction of a variety of rockets using one set of tooling.  Information detailing making fuels and basic shop safety guidelines will also be covered. Nozzled BP, nozzle less BP, whistle, and strobe rocket construction will all be detailed. Though this class will use the FireSmith Super BP Core Burn tools, the basic techniques, fuels, and safety guidelines are applicable to the construction of just about any type of rocket. A batch of benzoate whistle fuel will be made during this seminar. The making of strobe fuel will also be covered.

Ben Smith

Bios on file

Pyros In Training Display Setup: 

PIT Crew Staff

44 – 

Hands-on session assembling the PIT Crew display for Sunday’s

Member Showcase.

Star Rolling – Toro Method: 

Ellen Webb, Jim Widmann

45  

The Toro method of rolling stars is a traditional Japanese technique that grows the stars by using a slurry of the star composition mixed with the wetting agent. This workshop will show the techniques used to start and grow your stars plus some troubleshooting methods. The workshop will be a blend of didactic and hands-on learning.   

Ellen Webb

is a retired Critical Care nurse who, until very recently, always admired all things pyrotechnic from afar. When her husband successfully battled cancer, they decided it was time to start doing things they had always wanted to do. So in 2017, they went to their first PGI Convention, and a shell-building class was all it took to firmly set the hook. Ellen returned home from PGI with a thumb drive full of pyro literature, 150 pounds of chemicals, and had a cement mixer on order. At the 2018 Convention Ellen entered 4 shells constructed with the same techniques to be taught in the class into Aerial Level 4 and was awarded 2nd Place. Her interests are star rolling and Japanese-style ball shells.

Jim Widmann

is a long-time fireworks enthusiast and professional. Jim has shot shows for most of the fireworks companies in the Northeast US and in 1985 started a fireworks display company based in Connecticut. He was a founding member and president of the Connecticut Pyrotechnics Association. 

As a kid, July 5th was Jim’s favorite day of the year because he would find leftover dud fireworks from the neighborhood displays and cobble them together into something new and of his own making. Jim is a 30+ year member of the PGI and has competed and won in many of the display shell categories. He has a CT display operator’s license and is also licensed in CT as a pyrotechnic manufacturer. Jim is widely known as the inventor of the WASP automatic shell pasting machine and has sold hundreds of these machines in over 22 countries. In recent years, Jim has successfully built and shot world record shells (up to 62”) in North America and the Middle East.

After The Shutter Clicks – Pyrotography Post Processing: 

Tom Calderwood

46 – 

Tom Calderwood goes over his process of what happens after he takes a fireworks picture. Recommended to see the Pyrotography seminar first.

Theatrical Training Workshop – Part III: 

Amanda Nixon, Vijay Mepani

19c – 

A $50 fee is required for Session three on Sunday. In this session we will do the show setup, shoot and tear down.  12 pm- 9 pm at the racetrack.

For Sessions Three, long sleeve shirts and long pants (100% cotton or flame resistant), closed-toe shoes, safety glasses and hearing protection is required.

Amanda Nixon
Vijay Mepani
Caleb – need  

Bios on file

Colored methanol flames: fuel, salts/colorants, chlorine donors, and ignition methods: 

Matthew “Doc Horrible” Nubbe

47 – 

In this presentation we will go over a wide breadth of points on colored methanol flames: fuel choices (and additives), metal salts (~7), chlorine donors (methylene chloride and application methods (open cup, spray, lampari, ghost mines). Some starter recipes and references will be provided. Lecture + handouts only during the seminar; there will not be any live demos.  For observation/demos, find me at C-line that night.

Matthew “Doc Horrible” Nubbe

Jack of all trades engineer/scientist with an interest in pyro, especially colored methanol flames

Cryo! Introduction to CO2 and Nitrogen Effects: 

Kris Mullins

48

 This presentation will go over some of the most “coolest” effects almost anyone can use and work with. Topics discussed will include but not limited to:

– safety: gas knowledge, safe practices, and basic safety equipment

– differences between Co2 and N2

– permitting overview and what to know first 

– overview of Cryo special effects equipment 

– basic system design and important info to know 

– where to get gas and what’s required when obtaining

– the insiders knowledge from basic usage to professional & touring use 

*subject to change for the best experience 

Kris Mullins

former Navy turned serial entrepreneur and business owner of multiple brands, 4 of which reside within entertainment, spearheads CryoFX® which specializes in cryogenic systems (CO2 and LN2), including Special Effects with an emphasis on live entertainment, permanent installs, product research and development, and overall Special Effects design.

Kris’s CO2 “Cryo” Effects system install projects include the likes of Houston Astro’s Minutemaid Park, Walt Disney Frozen, and Las Vegas Mega Clubs. Research and Developement Projects inclusive of PPG and the US Government. Custom Products Projects include the names of Sony Action Cam, NHL, Smirnoff and Captain Morgan to name a few.

Kris, being an enthusiast at heart, a student for life, and resource of knowledge accumulated from almost 2 decades, is now dedicating focus and time towards educating others on the plethora of knowledge which has taken much dedication, time investment, trial and error to gain. 

An Introduction and Practical Guide to Using Glitter Mixes: 

Kurt Medlin

49 

In this seminar, Kurt will present an overview of basic glitter effect types, common formulations, and the role of the various components in glitter mixes.  Practical considerations for using glitter mixes in stars and comets, as well as static and propulsive devices like fountains, drivers, saxons, and tourbillions will be presented.  

Kurt Medlin 

first began trying to make fireworks around age 10 (with the patient tolerance of his mother and the encouragement of his father!). An avid collector of fireworks books and publications, Kurt acquired copies of the classic texts by Weingart, Davis, and Lancaster by his late teens. A few years later (around age 22 – 1981), Kurt joined the Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI), and the world of organized pyro.

He attended his first PGI convention in 1983 and gave his first seminar at the 1986 PGI convention. Kurt worked his first public fireworks display in 1984. His articles and book reviews have been published in the PGI Bulletin and Pyrotechnica.

Specialty Star Round Table: 

Dr. Dom and the Puretones

50

This round table discussion will go over several special projects attempted at WWB this year by several top notch pyro chemists who have spent several days compounding and testing some very unique fireworks  formulations. These will include blue strobe, colors of amazing purity and utilization of very rare chemicals not normally used in commercial manufacturing. Discussion will be open to other unique compounds and processes.