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For Atlas, a booming summer starts with July 4 show in Boston

Fireworks set off by Atlas Pyrovision Productions rise above the Hatch Shell during Boston’s Independence Day celebration in July 2013.

Fireworks set off by Atlas Pyrovision Productions rise above the Hatch Shell during Boston’s Independence Day celebration in July 2013. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

When the Boston Marathon bombing shocked the nation in April, Matt Shea of Atlas Pyrovision Productions in Jaffrey was in the midst of designing Boston’s Fourth of July fireworks show.

“Everything changed because of the bombing,” Shea said on Monday, noting that steps taken to increase security for the event offered new opportunities for Atlas.

“The Mass. Ave. bridge was closed, so we were able to use the bridge. We put elements along the bridge and on three mini-barges in the [Charles] River,” Shea said.

Using the bridge and the barges enabled Atlas to put on a different type of show than in the past.

“More pyrotechnics were involved, and we were able to give a three-dimensional look for the cameras that were in the blimp overhead,” said Shea.

The soundtrack for the show was also reworked after the bombing.

“It ended up less of a patriotic theme and more of a narrative, with messages from President Obama and Mayor Menino,” Shea said. “It was definitely a very family oriented show.”

Shea said the additional security didn’t pose any particular problems for his company.

“The people working the event didn’t really notice a lot of additional security,” he said. “The general public had to go a lot farther to get into the Hatch Shell. The bowl area had fewer people. It was very hot that day, but the show went off very well.”

Atlas will not be doing its annual hometown show at the Jaffrey’s Silver Ranch Airpark this year. That show, which the company did gratis for more than 20 years, was cancelled due to a last-minute bomb threat last year and organizers determined that the cost of additional security would be prohibitive.

Shea said many of the cities or committees that put on fireworks shows have increased police presence this year, but few shows have been cancelled.

“Our business is continuing to increase every year,” he said.

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or danderson@ledgertranscript.com. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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