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Behind the Booms

Local man sets up Oregon Park District’s fireworks

Mitch Rager of Spectrum Pyrotechnics checks the connections to the main fireworks disolay. Photo by Earleen Hinton
Mitch Rager of Spectrum Pyrotechnics checks the connections to the main fireworks disolay. Photo by Earleen Hinton

There were plenty of oohs and aahs when the Oregon Park District’s fireworks display hit the night sky last week, marking the end of the 2018 Concerts in the Park series.

But the nearly day-long work behind the 10-minutes of bursting color was done in a methodical, quiet fashion as Mitch Rager of Spectrum Pyrotechnics laid out the hundreds of shells at Oregon Park West.

“We have here more than 300 shells,” said the Chana native as he and Tim Callaway, of Mt. Morris, finished the set up. “We’ve spent most of the day setting up and this should last between 7-10 minutes.”

Rager said each display is choreographed to meet the client’s budget.

“They give us a budget and then we come up with a design. Everything we do is custom for the client,” Rager said.

Spectrum Pyrotechnics, Inc., is based in Reeseville, Wisconsin, and does fireworks presentations from large to small.

“Our company does a very large display set to music in Madison, Wisconsin,” Rager said. “We build to suit the client.”

Rager, a 2001 Oregon High School graduate, had his control board wired to a wide array of shells behind the tree line at the park.

“Our largest shell tonight is 6 inches. We have everything wired so we can shoot them off in a particular order,” Rager said. “We shot the fireworks for the OHS football games for years so I am very familiar with local sites.”

Oregon Park District Executive Director Erin Folk said this is the second year that the park district has hired Spectrum and Rager to do the fireworks show.

“We were very pleased with the program this year. It was exactly what we expected. We told him what our budget was ($6,000) and he met that,” Folk said. “And with the show being in a public park, Mitch took care of roping the area off and cleaned up everything after so there were no remnants of the show left in the park.”

Rager said Spectrum is easy to work with as evidenced by this information on the company’s website: “Contracting with us is very easy. First, give us a call. Every client is different and every event is unique and requires special attention. One size does NOT fit all and a custom design from Spectrum Pyrotechnics can actually save you time and money – not cost you extra.

“A custom display from us will be tailored to your specific event site and will draw from our years of design and program execution experience. We then will conduct a quick site survey with you and discuss any logistic concerns. Finally, let us do the rest! We will design and build your program – then display your masterpiece!”