Fireworks show: Dud or delight? |

Fireworks show: Dud or delight?

There has been a general grumbling all week long among some Aspen locals that this year’s fireworks display was a dud.

But officials involved in the pyrotechnics insist the display was at least as good as it has always been, and perhaps a little better.

And, said one of those who set the fireworks off, the town will be getting another pyrotechnical display for free on July 12, courtesy of a private corporation.

Callers to The Aspen Times and the Aspen Chamber Resort Association this week have demanded to know why the “grand finale” on July 4 was not as bombastic as it had been in years past.

A staffer in the city’s information department said she has not received any calls, but added, “I wondered what happened.”

According to the ACRA and Aspen’s head fireworks guy, Tim Cottrell, the fireworks were essentially the same as usual. They cost the same as in years past, they were set off on Aspen Mountain by the same crew as in years past.

And Cottrell, who has been igniting Aspen’s fireworks for 25 years, said there actually may have been more shells in this year’s display than in previous years.

But, he conceded, “I heard a comment about the finale, and the best I can say about that is that … we probably had more shells than ever up there. There was really nothing different about it.”

He said there were more than 200 shells built into the finale, but added that the “finale rack” did have some problems with the fuses. He said the rack often “tries to blow itself apart” with the force of the explosions, and that it happened this time.

“So we had to go back and light it a couple of times,” he explained. That may have accounted for a less intense finale than spectators were used to and expecting.

But, Cottrell said, “I can tell you, from my ears, that it was there. The general comment is, `It was the best I’ve ever seen.’ “

Noting that Aspen has built up a tradition of splendid fireworks displays, he remarked, “I think we get almost spoiled about it, because we have really great fireworks all the time. But it was there, and it obviously didn’t play out to everybody’s expectations this time.”

According to ACRA special events organizer Jennifer Albright, the display cost $14,000 – the same sum as in the past. She said some callers have expressed disappointment, but said she’s also heard “that it was the best ever.”

Cottrell revealed that there will be a private fireworks display off Aspen Mountain on Monday, July 12, sponsored by the Canadian International Banking Corp. “Maybe we can make it up to you,” he said.

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