The Work in Lehi’s Fireworks

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Most 4th of July onlookers have no idea the effort and time that goes into Lehi’s annual firework display at Thanksgiving Point. Thomas Whitchurch does. He was hired by Lehi City to organize and ignite the largest hand fired firework display in Utah County.

On the afternoon of July 4, Whitchurch, along with about a dozen volunteers were busily inserting fireworks into tubes prepared for a fantastic display, set to occur just hours later. Lehi’s fireworks are ordered from a company in Logan called Fireworks West, which makes some of the fireworks, but order most from China.

Along with Whitchurch, Eric Smith, a licensed pyro technician, organized the show. Whitchurch has been in charge of the display at Thanksgiving Point for the last five years. Record breaking crowds were expected, especially since this year’s Stadium of Fire was held the previous Saturday. These men and their volunteers are proud of their work: “Almost our entire show is “hand-fired,” not “electronic,” Smith mentions.  Over two thousand fireworks will be fired this year. The biggest, most dangerous fireworks, (10 inches in diameter) are submerged in a large hole in the ground and will be ignited electronically, for safety purposes.

10” fireworks, submerged in tubes in the ground. Photo: Sally Fowler Francom
10” fireworks, submerged in tubes in the ground. Photo: Sally Fowler Francom

Whitchurch and his group start early on the 4th, setting up wood frames that hold the tubes, that hold the actual fireworks—each looking like huge cherry bombs. You can tell they enjoy their work. “We love it; it’s challenging and exciting each year,” claims Whitchurch.

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