The annual fireworks display at DeHart Park takes months of pre-planning and a lot of behind-the-scenes work, according to Chris Corbett, Patrick County fireworks coordinator.
Immediately “after every show, I try to take away what worked well and what we may need to different for the next year,” Corbett said. By April, he is in contact with Dominion Fireworks Inc., a Petersburg company used for the show, Corbett said, and added he then discusses the upcoming display with company officials.
Getting equipment and other items in place is done days or weeks before the event, Corbett said. On the day of the show, everything is loaded on a trailer and transported to the park.
Volunteers who help are asked to arrive there by 5:30 p.m., and generally, everything is wired and set up by 7:30 p.m., Corbett said.
Experience is the only reason that process doesn’t take longer, he said. “Everyone knows what they’re doing.”
Corbett is required to be licensed by the state, and must renew it every three years. He also shoots smaller shows, including those at FloydFest and during the high school Homecoming football game in the fall.
In addition to Corbett, the 2017 fireworks team includes Patrick County Emergency Management Director Steve Allen; D.J. Lawson of Ararat Volunteer Fire Department; Ronald Terry and Michael Harrell of Meadows of Dan Volunteer Fire Department; Joey Erichetti and Randall Collins of Patrick Springs Volunteer Fire Department; Jerry Woods of Jeb Stuart Volunteer Rescue Squad; Terry Tilley, Buddy Dollarhite, Blair Clark, Erica Cipko, Brad Lawless, Clint Weidhaas, Alex Pegram and Terry Mills of Stuart Volunteer Fire Department. (Others who help, but are not pictured include Karen Corbett, Clyde Crissman and Ed Belcher)