After a day filled with patriotic picnics, barbecues and parades, Indianapolis residents can conclude their Fourth of July celebrations with the Regions Bank Freedom Blast Fireworks show.
“Regions is incredibly proud to host this Indianapolis Independence Day tradition for the 38th year,” said Tom Freeman, Regions Bank area executive. “We are thrilled so many families have made it their own annual tradition to come downtown to view the fireworks display.”
This Independence Day at 9:47 p.m. the largest fireworks display in Indiana continues its tradition on top of the Regions Bank Tower. For over three decades, the volume and size of the show has continued to transform allowing spectators to experience a memorable production from virtually anywhere one can view the downtown skyline.
“In celebration of Indiana’s sesquicentennial, there was a fireworks show in which a majority of the community attended,” said John Kinman, senior vice president of Regions Bank. “At that time the tower was owned by Indiana National Bank, and their properties manager decided that shooting fireworks off of the roof to celebrate Independence Day would be a wonderful community event. We’ve been shooting them off ever since and have never missed a year.”
According to Kinman, sponsors and partners begin planning for the show right after the conclusion of the previous year’s production. There are two to three meetings held throughout the year in which future improvements are discussed.
“Originally, the show was set up in one day and they used flares to set off the fireworks,” said Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department reserve officer Jackie Goss, who has been helping out with the production since 1987. “The entire show has evolved into such an elaborate production where basically everything is electronically controlled now.”
Starting off in January, Clear Channel Indianapolis production technician, Chris Geisen, starts working on the soundtrack which spectators can listen to on radio station WFBQ-FM (94.7) during the display. Upon completion, he sends the music to Zambelli International so that the show can be synchronized to the score.
“The music has to have a patriotic theme. There’s not that many patriotic songs, so we have to use different versions,” said Geisen. “In order to remain different, we also take sound bites from various important events in Indianapolis throughout the year, however the big finale always ends with the ‘1812 Overture.’”
This year with the help of Clear Channel production director Tim Denniston and production technician Matt Telsor, Geison has created a soundtrack that will honor those who have served the country.
“We are especially pleased to have this year’s musical soundtrack pay special tribute to all five branches of the military,” said Freeman. “It’s due to the courage and selflessness of the men and women who have served in our armed forces that we are all blessed to have the ultimate gift of freedom.”
A week ahead of time, JS Construction Services contractor John Spilker states that border casings and bunkers are built along with 150 sandbags to secure the protection of all materials needed for the show.
The night before the show technicians begin connecting the shells, where the fireworks come out of, to firing panels, which are individually hooked up and checked for continuity.
“Typically, we use over 1,500 shells within the 25 minutes that it takes to run this show,” said Zambelli International head power technician John Maxwell. “Each shell is electronically connected to a control panel and is shot off individually with many releasing simultaneously to create a greater visual effect.”
During the show, individuals from the Indianapolis Fire Department, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and Wishard Hospital are stationed around the firing vicinity to watch falling debris and to maintain safety.
“We have individuals who have helped put this spectacular event on for many years,” said Kinman, who has been responsible for overseeing the show for eight years. “Safety is our top priority for those working and watching the show.”
Regions Freedom Blast Fireworks continues to serve as a proud Indianapolis tradition for not only the people who watch the production but also the individuals who have dedicated years of service to creating successful shows year after year.
“When I’m standing on top of the building looking out it truly is an amazing view,” said Kinman. “We are proud to be able to put on this long tradition for our community. It truly is heartwarming to see the number of families who come down and share this experience which celebrates freedom and independence.”
For more information, call (317) 221-6000 or visit www.regionsbank.com.