For most people, watching fireworks is sort of like Egg Nog at Christmas; they enter the consciousness around the Fourth of July and then pretty much forget about them otherwise. Most people buy a few sparklers, or a pack of roman candles, or a few little boxes of those snap things you use to scare your grandmother. A family might even decide to have a picnic and enjoy the wonders of a particularly good fireworks display (i.e. The Sandlot). No matter what, most people see fireworks as one of the small joys of the general American experience.
Not Yinzers. There is really no other way of saying this — Yinzers just freakin’ love fireworks.
Yinzers are willing to brave nearly anything to see a fireworks display. Three hours of bad baseball and $7 beers? Hasn’t stopped the Buccos from selling out every SkyBlast since they’ve started the promotion. Cross two bridges, and go through a tunnel? Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. Stop and park the car in the middle of a major U.S. Interstate to watch? As long as there’s a place for the cooler full of Iron City Beer.
In the mind of Yinzers, Pittsburgh practically invented fireworks. The region is home to Zambelli Fireworks Internationale, known as the “First Family of Fireworks,” one of the oldest and largest American fireworks companies. While Zambelli lists an impressive array of clients around the world ( the Odyssey Network, the Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel and the British Broadcasting Company), Yinzers believe that God Himself hired them for His lightning/thunder/fire/brimstone appearances over the past six millennia. It makes sense, He would only want the best.
While Steelers Monday Night Football games, St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Day, the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, outdoor concerts, and Pirates home runs are all still considered rare enough occurrances to warrant fireworks, the Fourth of July is what really brings out the glimmer in a Yinzer’s eye. According to a local TV News station, there are 15 separate fireworks displays slated for July 4th celebrations within a 20-mile radius of downtown Pittsburgh, all scheduled at the same time. And, if Yinzers don’t feel like their local municipality’s displays are up to snuff — Zambelli can’t be everywhere, people — they are welcome to travel to the Golden Triangle, where 500,000 people are expected to watch the City of Pittsburgh display.
Unfortunately, this fireworks saturation has created an insatiable audience, and Yinzers always want more. Colors, lights, graphics, music, timing, shooting them from the river… Zambelli has already reached the pinnacle of fireworks perfection. Intelligence officers for the city of Cleveland have secretly expressed concern that Yinzers might be willing to launch a pre-emptive strike against the city just to see the show.
If you’re invited to a Yinzer’s house for the fourth of July, be ready for anything. Review the instructions on the fire extinguisher, do a little research on first aid tips, and always be on the lookout for a kid with a sparkler trying to poke you in the ass. In the end, a hour’s worth of oohs, ahhs, wows and that-was-the-best-grand-finale-they’ve-ever-hads are worth both personal safety and Yinzer harmony. Most importantly, have a great time. Sometimes the things Yinzers like are things everyone else likes, too.