Creative Pyrotechnics (CP) had a bad night in Apopka.

The Orlando-based vendor with over 10 years experience that the city contracted for the last three years unexpectedly and without appropriate notice canceled its Fourth of July fireworks display, sending families, spectators, and celebrants home frustrated and angry.

But as it turns out, Apopka was not the only city who experienced a sudden cancellation of its fireworks event by CP. Both DeBary and St. Petersburg had similar outcomes.

On its website, CP describes itself this way:

“Creative Pyrotechnics was founded in 2007 in the Theme Park Entertainment Capital of the World, Orlando, FL. Ten years later, we are still pleased to call Central Florida home, and we have achieved our vision to great success. First and foremost, our staff. The leadership at Creative Pyrotechnics have over 50 combined years of experience working with fireworks and special effects for some of the largest entertainment companies and venues in the world. Our pyrotechnicians are also second to none. We ensure that our technicians are educated annually on all applicable safety standards including new ATF regulations, NFPA Codes, D.O.T. standards and more, ensuring that your show will meet, and in most cases, exceed all safety standards.”

But in three cities, during their Fourth of July events, that standard was not on display.

In St. Petersburg, CP had given city employees assurances it would make its 9:15 PM start time. But at 8:30 PM, it disclosed to city staff for the first time there might be issues. CP said it delivers products for shows all over the state, but the heavy rains slowed down its schedule earlier in the day.

By 9:45 p.m., the City of St. Petersburg canceled the event, citing technical difficulties.

It also announced it will not pay CP, which had a $25,000 contract. And despite using them for almost a decade for similar events, will not hire them again.

In DeBary, Interim City Manager Ron McLemore issued this statement:

“I cannot express to you sufficiently the level of your City officials’ disappointment over the huge impacts this failure had on what we fully believed would have otherwise been the largest and most successful event the City has ever attempted to provide celebrating the combined birthday of our country and the 25th birthday of our city.”

The City of DeBary hired CP for $20,000 for the DeBary Lights Up Liberty Festival at Gemini Springs on Wednesday.

But hours after rains came through the Volusia County town, it issued a statement saying the fireworks planned for the evening had been canceled because of the weather. Later McLemore called for a “thorough investigation” into CP’s actions.

In Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson released this statement on the City’s Facebook Page about Wednesday night’s cancellation of the fireworks display at the Fourth of July celebration:

“First, I would like to thank the thousands who came out to the Fourth of July Celebration last night. Our staff did an outstanding job putting together a family-friendly event from the music by The Legendary JCs and Tommy Z to the bounce houses, face painting, and balloon artists. We appreciate the Boy Scouts who helped with the parking and the many others who helped in planning the event.

As your Mayor, I need to apologize to everyone who came out to watch an amazing fireworks display only to be disappointed that Creative Pyrotechnics did not perform. Creative Pyrotechnics had produced our 4th of July Fireworks in 2016 and 2017 as well as the Old Florida Outdoor Festival in 2017. The fireworks purchase order was signed one day prior to my swearing in and the Council had no reason to doubt the company since they had successfully produced three events for us in the past. Unfortunately, the pyrotechnic technician sent to handle our event was inexperienced and didn’t have adequate help. At 5:00 p.m. he realized that he was missing some hardware and had to go back to the office in Deland to pick up additional supplies, which put him 90 minutes behind schedule. The vendor did not inform our staff that there was a problem until 8:30 p.m. Creative Pyrotechnics even asked our city employees to help load the firework tubes but by 9:00 p.m. less than half had been loaded. We requested that even half the display of fireworks should be released but were told no. After an additional delay, Creative Pyrotechnics finally called the show off and within 10 minutes our staff went on stage and informed the public that the show had been cancelled.

I apologize for the inconvenience and understand your frustration but please understand that the City was at the mercy of Creative Pyrotechnics to perform their duties and they didn’t. We are looking at all legal remedies. We as a city apologize for not keeping the public better informed at the event and on social media but, unfortunately, we were not aware of all of the issues behind the scenes until too late.

The employees at the City and I are committed to making this right. We are working on a FREE Labor Day celebration event complete with fireworks to make up for the disappointing finish to our 4th of July event and hope to see you all there.”

3 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, reading all of the citizen’s postings on the different Apopka social medias websites regarding the cancelled firework show, sure gives some insight into the fact that there are some nasty people living around here. I am sure you all were disappointed, but chill out! And if that is not enough, I had a woman with an Apopka phone number call my home phone, and leave me a message, to quit calling her number, and alleged when she picks up her phone, she alleged that I don’t say anything! She left a message saying how rude I was, and informed me via my voice mail to never call her number again. I don’t know this woman, I have not called her phone number, and I don’t have her phone number in any of my contacts, so I know that I did not accidentally dial her number….geesh, some people in this town are something else!!!!!

  2. When we travel the 429 after dark, we see the firework shows from the highway. They are beautiful, but you can’t pull over to the side of the road to watch them, as the FHP would get you for that. I saw one of the most unique fireworks go up into the air, and it was an oblong circle of white, and then it exploded again, and had a big red heart shape in the middle of the outer white oblong circle. That was beautiful! The fireworks are from Disney’s show, that I think they have nightly.

  3. I see someone posted that they had to pay for parking last year at NWRC for the firework show…..well, we didn’t have to pay, and we didn’t see anyone else being charged to park either. Anyway, we left before the firework show, went to eat BBQ at Sonnys and went home to be with my dog before the neighborhood fireworks started exploding on our street knowing he would be scared.

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