It’s been 24 years since the Lopez Fireworks Committee starting coordinating the fireworks display. And according to long-time committee member and pyrotechnician Dwight Walters, the show is reaching its best-ever performance.
“This year (the show) is at its maximum size … (it’s) at its best.
The origins of the fireworks display lie with Jim Scripps, who used to shoot fireworks off land near Charles Island. With his passing in 1986, a few Lopezians joined together with the Chamber of Commerce to keep the display going. Through diligent fund-raising, the committee ensured that not only did the show go on, but it got bigger and better.
It is to Walters, however, that the committee offers special tribute.
“He is the main reason our show is so great. He got interested in the how of things and took it from normal to awesome,” one committee member says.
Wayne Smith, another committee member and pyrotechnician, adds, “Bottom line: the reason the show has obtained the position it has, is because of Dwight,”
Walters says that initially he “just helped out,” but got more seriously involved after 1990, receiving his ATF explosive manufacturing license in 1991.
This was an extended process, but officially allowed him to purchase and design the fireworks display. Walters says the aesthetics of the show come from his appreciation of Asian-style firework displays.
Members of the fireworks committee say their reward for working so hard on the fund-raising and show production is the pleasure that Lopezians get from their Fourth of July. To this, Walters adds a genuine love of fireworks, and the artistry behind it.
“I love fireworks … in fact, it’s an art form and a rare one.”
For the past four years, Nick Gislason has been the lead pyrotechnician (the team has at least four pyrotechnicians) but Walters still contributes. “Very much so,” Smith says.
The Lopez fireworks display is the product of teamwork. However, that team roundly recognizes Walters as being the “driving force” behind the high-quality show that will hit the sky this July.