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Southeast’s largest 4th of July fireworks show bigger and better in ’18

posted: Jul. 04, 2018

The Southeast’s largest Fourth of July fireworks display was even bigger Wednesday night.

Capping off an evening of live entertainment featuring headliners After 7, Klymaxx and Dionne Farris with J Fly and Friends, the 14-and-a-half minute pyrotechnic spectacle lit up the night sky over the Georgia World Congress Center Authority’s (GWCCA) downtown Atlanta campus.

Featuring more than 3,000 shells, the largest of which zoomed up to 600 feet, and others that zipped to 400 feet high in less than a second, the fireworks spectacular synchronized to a patriotic and pop music soundtrack enthralled a crowd of more than 15,000.

To view our photo gallery from the event, click here.

It was the first time the annual event was held on International Plaza, the open green space nestled between the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC), Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Philips Arena. Traditionally, the GWCCA’s Fourth of July Celebration has been at Centennial Olympic Park, but it is undergoing renovations. Rather than cancel the popular free and open-to-the-public event, the Authority decided that the show must go on with a change of venue.

A group of international friends, Daniela Riva, Franciane Rodrigues, Phylicia Chambers, and Mariana Fournier, celebrate July 4th on International Plaza.

It was also a first-ever Fourth of July celebration for Franciane Rodrigues, an au pair in Acworth who is originally from Brazil.

Shortly after the fireworks stopped, she hugged her friends, who are also au pairs, and exclaimed, “this is my best Fourth of July ever!”

No matter it being her first time celebrating the United States’ birthday, Rodrigues said she was quite stirred by the barrage of colorful illuminations, with Mercedes-Benz Stadium bathed in red light, and International Plaza’s signature towers projecting red, white and blue lights, serving as the backdrop.

“It was very impressive,” she said. “It was a beautiful show.”

The fireworks show went on despite a short delay as a rain storm blew through the area around 9:30 p.m.

A rack of the largest mortar and shells set up on the GWCCA’s West Plaza.

It took a crew of 18 to set up the massive fireworks arsenal over the course of three days, said Jonathan Barhite of  the Authority’s pyrotechnics partner J&M Displays.

Fireworks were positioned on the GWCCA’s West Plaza, on top of the GWCC’s Building B, behind the stage on International Plaza and on two of the plaza’s 70-foot towers, and cascaded over the site of the former Georgia Dome where the Home Depot Backyard is under construction, and above International Plaza.

Barhite described the event as “Georgia’s most epic fireworks display with the largest shells ever shot in the city of Atlanta.”

Kent Kimes
Posted by Kent Kimes / Sr. Staff Writer
on Jul. 04, 2018
A metro Atlanta native, Kent joined the Authority in 2015. He is your digital tour guide to the No. 1 convention, sports and entertainment destination in the world. His customer service approach is summed up by the Little River Band track "Help Is On Its Way."

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