Rose Bowl AmericaFest Fireworks Show Tells 'Pyro-Musical' Story of Mars Exploration Anniversary

Rose Bowl AmericaFest Fireworks Show Tells 'Pyro-Musical' Story of Mars Exploration Anniversary

From: Pasadena Now

Pasadena’s annual Independence Day fireworks show at the Rose Bowl, AmericaFest, will celebrate the national holiday with a special twist, commemorating the 20th anniversary of mankind’s first spacecraft mission to Mars through an interactive ‘pyro-musical’ story.

“You really get to be part of a larger-than-life show that transforms the evening sky into a shower of explosive lights and colors,” said Darryl Dunn, Rose Bowl general manager. “This year we have some surprises that will deliver many ‘oohs and ahs’.”

Recognized as one of the nation’s largest and longest-running 4th of July fireworks shows, the Rose Bowl presents its 91th annual AmericaFest™ celebration on Tuesday, July 4th with a spectacular nighttime display of more than a ton of fireworks.

The show will feature the elaborate firework creations from Pyro Spectaculars created by the Souza family, who have filled the skies over the Rose Bowl with sensational fireworks entertainment for more than 35 years.

“Our tie-in with JPL is the most exciting part about this year’s show. There’s a lot of space-oriented elements to the program,” said Rose Bowl General Manager Darryl Dunn. “We’ve found that people are fascinated with space so we were sure to make sure that part of the program will give the audience a taste of Mars,” Dunn added.

July 4 marks 20 years since Mars Pathfinder, a robotic spacecraft designed by NASA/JPL, landed a base station with a roving probe on Mars.

“We’re telling a Pyro-musical — a firework story,” explained Paul Souza, fifth generation pyrotechnician from Pyro Spectaculars by Souza about the unique show format that will include both audio and visual technology to pair with the fireworks.

“The theme of the show is very much Americana, but also in the spirit of the American ideal of exploration.’It’s a combination of real rockets and rocket scientists,” explained Souza.

JPL scientists who headed the Mars Pathfinder mission in 1997 collaborated with the Rose Bowl to commemorate the special anniversary.

“It’s still hard for me to believe it’s been 20 years already, but what’s even more hard to believe is just how much it opened up windows and doors for progress in exploration of our nearest neighbor and most easily neighbor, Mars–the planet that most likely is the place that humans may go someday and explore it with their own footprints,” said Rob Manning, former Chief Engineer of JPL’s Mars Science Laboratory.

The sophisticated show features ten positions of firework areas in the golf course in conjunction with another ten located inside the Rose Bowl stadium that will be ready to blast into the dusk sky and will include 8,000 fireworks effects.

“We’re really mixing ancient technology with modern technology,” said Souza. “The show itself is entirely multimedia.You really got to be inside in a seat to really get a grasp of the entire evening,” explained Souza.

All together the show is loaded with 24,000 pounds of firework equipment and over two and a half tons of fireworks will be set off, making it the largest fireworks show ever hosted at the Rose Bowl.

Pyro Spectaculars has produced shows for the NFL Super Bowls, the Olympic Games and major events globally.

Thousands of special effects fireworks will be launched from the stadium as part of the Rose Bowl’s daylong family-friendly entertainment extravaganza featuring live motorcycle stunts by TNT Freestyle Motorcross, and a musical performance by the Liverpool Legends honoring the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ classic rock album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

A Family Fun Zone outside the stadium will open in the afternoon and offers food vendors, entertainment, crafts, exhibits and inflatable rides for the kids.

Tickets for AmericaFest are on sale now at Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000 or at and are priced at $15 for general admission and $30 for reserved.

Children 5 years and under are admitted free. Event parking is $30 per vehicle at all lots. Members of the active military and three of their family members will also receive free admission by showing a current military identification at Rose Bowl Stadium Gate B on the day of the event at 3:00 p.m.

For more information on AmericaFest, presented by Honda, visit

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