News 12 finds out what it takes to pull off the area's largest fireworks display

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July 4, 2007 News 12 First at Five

Its a half hour of what can seem like magic in the sky.
But ask Craig Butler and he'll tell you there's no magic trick to setting up the fireworks spectacle over the Savannah.

"We have to wire every shell to the specific layout. Its just alot of work," Craig says.

Craig, his two sons, and six of his friends from Thomson make up Melrose Pyrotechnics. This marks 21 years of firing off the Fifth street bridge.

"This will be the biggest show we ever shot," his son Chase says.

It takes twelve hours of labor and 450 cues carefully choreographed by computer. It all leads to the popping of two thousand individual pieces of pyro.

"It does get your blood rushing," Craig says.

It is a dangerous job and at times there are glitches, but not if they can help it. Craig says one careless move can be deadly.

The men take their job seriously. Each year they strive to make the show different. This year they've added a tribute to James Brown.

"I'm not going to give it away, but everybody come out and see our tribute to James Brown," Craig says.

When the music starts, they all sit back and let the computers do the work, until the show is over.

"Then you've got to spend another three hours tearing it down and cleaning it up," he says.

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