The ostensible organizing construct behind my road trip was to attend the Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI) convention in Mason City, Iowa. The annual get together moves to a different northern Midwest city each year and when I heard it would be in Iowa, that was enough to convince me I should attend.
As you might imagine, I've been preoccupied over the last week with conference activities which has made me lax in keeping up with my writing. In an effort to get caught up, the entries for this week will be pretty much to the point and likely image intensive.
On Sunday, I attended my first workshop - hand dipped sparklers! I always enjoy the workshops tremendously because most are hands-on and oftentimes you leave with something you can take to the shooting area and blow up. This workshop was to make sparklers - shiny silver aluminum ones. At left, our instructor mixes the ingredients, pushing them through a sieve.
After stirring in some very finely powdered aluminum (that stuff is crazy!), water is added to make a slurry of just the right consistency. Below, the instructor is filling the reservoirs with the silver fudge.
Dang I wish that stuff was edible! It would make the best frosting! Below, one of my classmates dips her stick into the reservoir of sparkler goo:
It's really fun to watch the kids do their projects. They're usually so thrilled to be doing it - but then so do the adults for that matter.
Sunday night was the first big public display of the convention, and these shows are always doozies. The announcer proudly quoted a street value for the week's pyrotechnics of 1 cool million. Four shows, $250K a pop. That's another big reason I go to these conventions!
It's actually a lot of fun to take these photos because you never know what you'll get. No thinking, just push the shutter and see what happens. This was the first of three shows I'd watch.