Taylor, Anderson will light up Vermillion’s sky on Fourth of July

Taylor, Anderson will light up Vermillion's sky on Fourth of July
Much like the author of a screenplay, Tom Taylor of Fireworks Unlimited, Inc. in Vermillion has already written out part of what he has planned for the Fourth of July fireworks show in Vermillion.

Taylor, however, works much like a curious reader of a mystery novel. He doesn't start planning from the beginning. He begins designing the aerial fireworks displays by first deciding how they should end.

As of Tuesday, Taylor had already written how he wants to conclude Vermillion's July 4 show. The details will remain a secret, however, to give a greater sense of anticipation to the display.


Tuesday night's firework show in Vermillion likely will be the grandest ever, thanks to donations from the local business community, including $1,000 in funding from Wal-Mart.

The talents and innovations of Taylor and his partner, Dennis Anderson, also play a key role in aerial displays that just seem to get better and better year after year.

For example, they've built what they call "a rack" for firing certain shells. The rack appears much like a woman's fan.

"By laying the shells like this, in this fan rack, we're going to see bursts that zipacross the sky and I'm going to alternate it, so I'll be able to fill the sky with shell bursts," Taylor said. "It's all pretty neat."

He's already determined what he will need for part of Vermillion's show. He will be gathering 120 two-and-a-half inch shells, 140 three-inch shells, 24 four inch shells and 24 five-inch shells.

Those shells alone will all be fired within a five minute period.

"That's the ?wow' effect," Taylor said. "It's going to look cool."

The fireworks show will conclude a busy day of celebration in Vermillion next Tuesday. The Vermillion Jaycees will be holding "Fun in the Sun" for young people at the Vermillion Pool, with sea horse rides, a money dive and other events.

Numerous events are also planned at Barstow Park from 6 to 9 p.m.

For a $5 charge, kids can take in unlimited fun in a jumping room, an obstacle course, a giant slide, and a sports cage. They can also participate in a bean bag toss and play Slingo.

Fund-raising events include a dunk tank sponsored by the local EMS, glow necklaces from the Corner Stone Youth Group, and bingo by the Parent Teachers Association.

Concessions will include a beer garden hosted by the Eagles, Domino's Pizza, ice cream and hot dogs by the Doo Wop Shake Shop, BBQ by Minerva's of Yankton and popcorn served by eTelecare Global Solutions.

The ROTC will have a display at the park, and music will be provided by Randy Hammer of Mix 106.

The fireworks show will begin at dark.The smaller shells will be fired so that two or three burst simultaneously to fill the sky.

Such steps aren't needed with five or six inch shells. They are large enough to fill the night sky on their own.

"We have some really high-end Japanese shells that I've picked for this, and some canister shells that are more of a Spanish style," he said. "We also use some multi-bright shells. Vermillion is my showplace."

Every year, Taylor tries to think up a few surprises to slip into the community's fireworks show and this year will be no exception.

"We slip in some pattern shells and some real heavy salutes, and some unusual shells that people don't normally see," he said.

Taylor and Anderson hand-fire the shells for smaller shows in the area, but for big shows, like the one in store in Vermillion, the fireworks will be wired with electronic fuses.

Those fuses, in turn, are wired into a field monitor, a metallic looking box with a control panel and switch boxes.

The modern equipment allows Taylor and Anderson to safely launch each shell by simply flipping a switch.

Each shell is launched from a reusable fiberglass tube.

Vermillion's show will require approximately 500 tubes, and approximately 60 hours of preparation time by Taylor and Anderson, who have been in this business for approximately a decade.

This year's show will be fired from Bower Street behind Pamida.

"Vermillion is our showcase, and we're going to pull out all the stops to make this show better than last year," Taylor said.

The two men also hope to continue a tradition of offering shows that just keep on getting better.

"There are two things that last in the memory of people who watch a fireworks show," Taylor said. "They remember how long it lasted, and they remember how it ended."

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