LA CROSSE, WI (WXOW)—Since 1929, only a few months after the market crash of the Great Depression, each of the ten original Granddad Skyrockers donated $10 to buy fireworks and start this tradition.
The tradition signifies the hope that next year will be better.
Volunteers with the La Crosse Skyrockers braved the cold to set up more 400 fireworks for the New Year's Eve display.
"At the south point we have some racks set up that are angled so we can do the crisscross effect," Jonathan Vermes, Public Relations Director, La Crosse Skyrockers said. "There's a corresponding rack set up on the north side of the bluff so when the show goes on. When you see the fireworks that go across each other that's how we do that."
All of the fireworks are numbered to control when each gets set off; and each is connected to its corresponding number on a yellow box. The yellow box is connected to the firing board so tonight to set off all the fireworks they'll hit this trigger.
The color of the firework depends on the chemical inside.
"Magnesium is what burns bright white hot," Vermes said. "Magnesium is what's used in these waterfall fireworks that will be strung up along the front of the bluff."
The bigger the firework, the higher it goes; for every inch added to its diameter it will go about 100 feet higher.
"The gratification of seeing a successful show when you hear those car horns honk and you hear cheering all the way up here from down there it's a really gratifying feeling," Vermes said.
A feeling that makes spending 16 times longer setting up than it takes for the actual show worth it.
The fireworks are all paid for through donations. This year's display cost $10,000.
"We like to say it's (the donations) for your neighbors, your family, your friends, a memory or that resolution that you're going to have that next year is going to be better," Pat Bonadurer, President, La Crosse Skyrockers said.
Click here for more information on donating to the Skyrockers.
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