Inside Scoop on Tonight’s Fireworks

Ready for Combate Naval!

Yes, the huge Carnaval fireworks show, Combate Naval (click through to see photos from 2017), has been moved north this year. It will take place between Casa del Marino on the north and the Monumento a la Vida/dolphin monument on the south. And it won’t happen till 11 pm, in hopes that people (normal, un-police escorted people) can make the show after the coronation.

But stop worrying about the view. You won’t have to crane your neck to see any of the gorgeous fireworks that are normally launched from the beach, nor those incredible aquatics; all fireworks this year will be aerial. Meaning, they will launch high up, from one of five barges in the bay, so that all can see. We will all, regardless of where we are standing or, if you’re lucky, sitting, be able to enjoy the show!

I got a behind-the-scenes look while Lux Pirotecnia set up the barges today, with help from Big Bang Fireworks out of Calgary. You may remember my full behind-the-scenes explanation last year. In 2018 I got up and personal with the barges and the crew putting it all in place. While I was there, the first two barges were complete and undergoing final testing; three barges remained to be finalized. Yet the fishermen were waiting anxiously, saying that the barges needed to be pulled out now while the surf was calm, because the later in the afternoon it gets the surf will get higher and the fireworks equipment loaded on the barges in more danger of getting wet. Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

Crew member Mike Toth gave me a brief tour of what they were assembling on the barges:

It can take from two hours to a full day to program just one minute of a fireworks show, depending on how complex it is. Every single firework is labelled with “Mazatlán Carnaval,” the event and date, and then it has a number. That number indicates where the charge goes, and in what order; the “choreography” or design is listed out in a black waterproof folder and constantly consulted by the crew as they assemble.

Everyone has their role and they know what it is; the coordination among them is pretty incredible. They are all assembled in order, then wired and connected to black boxes. If something is not connected properly, a light shows up on the control panel, and an error shows in the computer. I found myself very welcome on the barges this afternoon, until, barge by barge, the fireworks were connected and ready. Once everything is set, I was not allowed to board the barge with the finished and ready to go fireworks, nor was anyone besides Jorge and his “number one.” Thank goodness, as at that point they basically could fire off anytime.

Big Bang owner Dan Roy spoke to me about how our Carnaval fireworks are world class, one of the biggest and best shows you’ll find anywhere on the planet. This same crew did Mexico’s bicentennial in Mexico City, so he knows big shows!

I also interviewed crowd favorite, German Klaus Ulrich, the flame expert. You’ve seen and felt his flame throwers during the coronations and during the fireworks shows:

We will be attending our god son’s wedding this evening, and I will have to miss my favorite night of the entire year. Please, please take photos and videos and share them with us! I will be forever grateful. Enjoy!