San Diego fireworks sizzles, unlike last year’s fizzle

San Diego’s fireworks extravaganza went off without a hitch Thursday night, filling the sky with brilliant colors amid patriotic music, including “Born in the USA.”

To the relief of public officials, much of the citizenry, and certainly the organizers of the July 4th Big Bay Boom Fireworks show, there was no repeat of last year’s computer glitch that caused all the fireworks to ignite in a colorful but confusing 30 seconds.

Instead, several hundred thousand people surrounding San Diego Bay were treated to 18 minutes of fireworks designs Thursday night, starting at 9 p.m., topped by a finale of several complex designs.

The city, always worried about its public image, was embarrassed when videos posted on the Internet of the 2012 fizzle garnered millions of views, followed by snarky comments. That put pressure on organizers and the fireworks firm, New Jersey-based Garden State Fireworks, to do things correctly this year.

“The world will be watching us,” said H.P. “Sandy” Purdon, marina owner and founder and executive producer of the show.


Though there are other fireworks displays in the county on the Fourth of July, for a decade the big boom show has been the major fireworks show for the city and county governments and the San Diego Unified Port District and for the tourism industry.

This year’s budget is about $400,000, mostly for advertising, permit fees, barges, tugboats and environmental reviews. The fireworks firm, to atone for last year’s mishap, donated the fireworks and its labor.

As always, if contributions from companies and public agencies exceed expenses, the surplus will be donated to the Armed Services YMCA. Purdon hopes to clear $50,000 this year for the YMCA.