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California

Fireworks are out at the state fair. A drone show will light up the night sky instead

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An undated handout photo shows a drone light show from Great Lakes Drone Co., which is working with the California State Fair to replace its traditional fireworks display.
(Great Lakes Drone Co.)

The night sky over the California State Fair will glitter with lights next month, as it does every July. But instead of a traditional fireworks display this year, the glow will be artificial, created by flying drones.

For the first time, the two-week fair in Sacramento will put on a light show at the Miller Lite Racetrack Grandstand using swarm technology and drones moving to choreographed music, officials announced last week.

“Drone light shows are considered to be more environmentally safe and inclusive to families and those who have sensitivities to loud explosions created by traditional fireworks,” state fair officials said.

The visuals will be seen as far away as two football fields from the fair, said officials, who are working with the Great Lakes Drone Co. to coordinate the light show.

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In 2015, attendees and fair officials were spooked when a mortar misfired 10 minutes into a fireworks show, sending sparks flying and igniting small fires in the area, the Sacramento Bee reported. A year earlier, a large grass fire on Cal Expo property, where the state fair is held, nearly led to the Fourth of July fireworks show being canceled.

Fair executives have not said whether the new show was developed because of those mishaps.

“Our team is working diligently to bring new and exciting forms of entertainment to the California State Fair,” Rick Pickering, head of Cal Expo, said in a statement.

The drone light show will be displayed every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night during the state fair’s run from July 12-28.

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alejandra.reyesvelarde@latimes.com

Twitter: @r_valejandra


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