4th Fest spectators will see a difference in fireworks show, new director says

What was your favorite song in the 4th Fest spectacular?

The Central PA 4th Fest fireworks lit up the skies on Wednesday, July 4, 2018.
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The Central PA 4th Fest fireworks lit up the skies on Wednesday, July 4, 2018.

Frank Savino went to the Central PA 4th Fest board of directors in 2013 with a simple suggestion.

“You have 31 words missing from your event,” Savino said. “I told them (the board) when everyone stands for the national anthem and they lower the flag, why don’t we ask everyone in the audience to do the Pledge of Allegiance, and those are the 31 words.”

From that point, Savino got involved with 4th Fest, and every year he gets a youth group to lead the Pledge of Allegiance in front of the tens of thousands of people attending the fireworks show.

Last fall, Savino, who lives in State College, was named the new executive director of 4th Fest. He followed Karl Lipart, who held the position since 2015.

While the 4th Fest has a new leader at the helm, the festivities will largely remain the same.

The festival will kick off at 9 a.m. July 4 with the Firecracker 4K and 4 mile races, followed by the Independence Day Parade at 2 p.m., which will start at Allen Street and make its way to the Bryce Jordan Center.

Around the BJC, food concessions and activities such as a BMX stunt show, mechanical bull riding and Operation Thank You, a service sending thank you letters to active U.S. Military personnel, will take place.

Then, at 9:15 p.m. the famous fireworks show will take place.

The show features 12,000 individual fireworks shells, and takes 45 minutes. It is the largest fireworks show in the nation that is set up by volunteers only.

While the show has always been the hallmark event at the festival, Savino said viewers can expect an even more incredible fireworks display this time around, as 4th Fest will be using different shells this year.

“In past years we got our shells in China they were the only place that could make the amount of shells that we need,” said volunteer and firework choreographer Matt Lindenberg. “The government has been tightening regulations in China, so it’s getting harder and harder to export from there. So this year we’re getting our shells from Spain.”

Savino said spectators will be able to see the difference in the new shells.

“People describe them as going from incandescent bulbs to LED. The colors will be more brilliant and the effects will be different from what you’ve seen in the past.”

For more information on the festival, visit the 4th Fest website at www.centralpa4thfest.org.