I found the following story on CNet about how modern day fireworks displays are computer controlled. You might be surprised to learn that many are still fired off manually.
By Natali T. Del Conte?
Comedian Jeff Foxworthy once reportedly said that you might be a redneck if your lifetime goal was to own a fireworks stand.
But these days, operating a modern-era fireworks production is much more like Hollywood in the sky. Orchestrating the shows that will take place over the next few days requires artistry, a fanatical interest in safety, and a healthy dose of geek, to boot.
Eric Tucker, the lead creator for the Fourth of July fireworks show in Boston that is broadcast on ABC, is planning a show that will be exactly 22 minutes and 32 seconds long. For every minute of pyrotechnical splendor, however, at least four hours of planning has been done ? and that doesn’t include the time it took him to test fireworks in Europe and Asia, as well as actually set up the firing equipment. He started planning nearly four months ago.
“It costs more than you think and less than it’s worth,” Tucker said. “I don’t talk about how much but it’s a very large production. It’s one of the largest in the country. There’s a lot of pressure every year to do it.”