Pyrotechnic Guild International is hosting 50th annual convention

People from several continents have arrived at the Sunnyview Expo Center to participate
Published: Aug. 12, 2023 at 9:59 PM CDT
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - Around 2,000 firework enthusiasts are expected to watch, compete and learn more about their shared hobby at the Sunnyview Expo Center on Saturday, August 12, 2023.

The convention brings people from all over the world, and on Saturday morning, attendees from London and Argentina were already setting up.

The weeklong event includes building fireworks, firework competitions, seminars on the latest technology and safety, and large, impressive pyro musicals.

“We have lots of pyro musicals now, that’s a newer event where we’re choreographing pyrotechnic devices to the music, perfectly,” said Connie Widmann, PGI media chair.

For the PGI crowd, fireworks are about much more than pretty lights in the sky.

“To the average, like, everyday person, they see fireworks and they’re like ‘ooo aww’ but we see them and it’s like this beautiful, handcrafted thing and it takes such time and precision,” said Hailee Miller with MUM Pyrotechnics. “We can look at the fireworks and we’ll see like every minor detail, minor mistake, and we just… I don’t know… it’s an art.”

Miller regularly competes but this year she is focusing on the MUM firework display, which will be built completely on the grounds throughout the week by PGI members.

“We’ve been gathering up all of the materials and stuff so that we can bring everything here and our members, like members of PGI, can come and build a show within the span of a week,” Miller said.

Two of the large displays are available to the public, on Sunday and Friday nights.

“These are going to be fancier than the public is used to seeing,” Widmann said. “Local town shows are not as choreographed as the ones that will be seen here.”

Advance tickets are $10, or day-of-show tickets are $15, with $5 parking per vehicle.