The sky will glow over Oshkosh - but not everyone is happy about that

Organizers are calming everyone down: Nothing will detonate into the wee hours
Published: Aug. 10, 2023 at 4:57 PM CDT
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - On Saturday, August 12, 2023, the Polytechnic Guild International (PGI) will fire off its annual convention at the Sunnyview Expo Center.

While some welcome the weeklong event of fireworks displays, along with booms and bangs, it is also causing controversy in the community due to concerns about the permits allowing detonations until 1 a.m.

The PGI annual convention’s permits do allow for fireworks to be set off until 1 a.m., as confirmed by the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office in a statement.

However, there is no need to be concerned about hearing huge Independence Day-style displays for hours every night next week.

Reached by telephone on Thursday, August 10, 2023, a PGI official said that on most nights the fireworks will wrap up at around 11 p.m. - and that the permits last later only in case of rain.

″We are a full operation, and we have specific rules and guidelines that we live by,” explained Connie Widmann, PGI Chair of Media Relations.

The convention does have three nights of major fireworks displays planned: On Sunday, August 13, 2023 and the following Wednesday and Friday. The majority of pyrotechnics won’t be giant loud presentations.

″We predominantly do competitions, which is individual shows being shot one at a time so it’s not like a Pyro musical. It’s just one show at a time,” Widmann said.

Still, multiple nights of fireworks are still worrying some people in the community, especially regarding pets and wild animals in the area.

”What you would typically see is animals trying to hide, looking for a quiet place pacing around being anxious shaking even having some stomach digestive issues as well that are resulting from the anxiety and stress, said Ieva Engel, President of the Oshkosh Humane Society.

She recommends pet owners find a quiet space for their animals in the house, perhaps investing in a thunder jacket as well as talking to a vet about potentially giving them medication to help with the anxiety.

“Most importantly for animal owners in the community would be to pay attention that the animal has an ID tag, with a working phone number, updated phone number, sometimes those are no longer accurate,” Engel added.

Widmann said they have been hosting pyrotechnic conventions for over 50 years across the country and have always had positive relationships with the communities.

″Truly, Winnebago County, and the City of Oshkosh, who have been pursuing us for a couple of years in the application process for us to come to the county and competing against many other communities that we’re looking for us, vying for us to come to their communities,” Widmann said.

The PGI convention is hosting firework displays open to the public on Sunday and the following Friday.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $10 and parking is $5.

The gates open both nights at 6 p.m. and the show is scheduled to begin at dusk.

The Pyrotechnics Guild International is hosting its annual convention at the Sunnyview Expo Center through next week. However, people living nearby are upset.