×

Atlas places second in international fireworks competition

  • Atlas PyroVision Entertainment Group, Inc. of Jaffrey has placed second in the 2018 DaNang International Fireworks Festival, an international fireworks competition that took place in Vietnam over the weekend. Photo credit: DIFF 2018—

  • Barbara Pelkey and her daughter Katherine Potts were two of the six Atlas crew members to compete in the Danang International Fireworks Festival in Vietnam over the weekend. The Atlas team placed second to a team from Italy.  Photo BY DIFF 2018

  • Atlas PyroVision Entertainment Group, Inc. of Jaffrey has placed second in the 2018 DaNang International Fireworks Festival, an international fireworks competition that took place in Vietnam over the weekend. Photo credit: DIFF 2018—

  • Atlas PyroVision Entertainment Group, Inc. of Jaffrey has placed second in the 2018 DaNang International Fireworks Festival, an international fireworks competition that took place in Vietnam over the weekend. Photo BY DIFF 2018



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, July 02, 2018 8:34PM

Atlas PyroVision Entertainment Group, Inc. may be entrenched in the busiest part of the fireworks season, but that didn’t prevent the company from competing in an international fireworks competition over the weekend.

An Atlas fireworks crew, representing the United States of America, placed second in the DaNang International Fireworks Festival in Vietnam on Saturday to a team from Italy.

This is the first time Atlas has entered the Danang competition, CEO Steven Pelkey said.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about the experience and ability to train and try new things,” said Pelkey, in an interview Friday. “Competitions like this are a large reason why we do what we do. We open the flood gates and try a lot of new things.”

Competitions like DeNang offer Pelkey and his employees the freedom to try a number of new things – including different fireworks, shooting methods, shooting angles, etc. – that if proven effective, can be added into future shows.

“That’s part of what’s exciting for us,” Pelkey said. “It allows us to be flexible.”

Atlas doesn’t enter fireworks competitions every year, he said, but the company decided to “torture” itself this year by taking part in a competition so close to the Fourth of July.

“We’ve always tried to push our limits,” Pelkey said. “It makes our company and our shows better.”

Barbara Pelkey, Steve’s wife and the leader of the Danang team, said Monday morning that her entire team was proud of the show they put on for the Vietnamese crowd. Her team included her daughter Katherine Potts, Todd and Joan Joseph of Hancock, Neil Silva of Falmouth, Massachusetts, and Joel Robinson of Saratoga Springs, New York.

“When our performance started, we were greeted with thunderous applause,” Barbara said. “We were so thrilled when the show finished.”

Barbara said the competition was challenging for a number of reasons, including the heat in Vietnam. Jaffrey felt cool in comparison when she returned early Monday morning, she said. There were also the constraints of the competition.

Prior to the grand finale event on Saturday, Atlas was sent a list of fireworks products – the same list the other finalist team from Italy received – to put together their show.

The only additional components the team could add was from a “scavenger hunt” of unused materials from previous fireworks competitions.

“We knew that we needed some fun and powerful effects,” Barbara said, saying the team found some shells that burn on the surface of water and some louder, booming fireworks. “We were able to add some extra levels of effects to the show.”

Now that she has returned, Barbara and other crew members will help with the 200-plus shows planned for this week.

“It’s nonstop from like 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. at the office,” Barbara said. “It’s nonstop loading trucks and equipment.”

Pelkey said the two to three week period surrounding the Fourth of July is by far the busiest period for Atlas, accounting for approximately 70-percent of the company’s business.

In addition to Fourth of July events, Atlas also does fireworks for a number of private events, weddings, town anniversaries, and more. About 90- to 95-percent of Atlas’ events are held in New England.

“Things are continuing to grow, but at a slower pace, which is good for us,” Pelkey said. “We’re doing a lot more privates displays – sporting events, corporate events, weddings. People want to give an added value to their event.”

Pelkey said one area of the industry that doesn’t seem to be showing growth is retail sales.

“It’s steady, not robust but steady,” he said of the retail market. “I think people have become a little more conservative. People used to be more flashy.”

Atlas currently operates five retail stores in the Granite State, located in Rindge, Amherst, Londonderry, Belmont, and Newport. Pelkey said Atlas previously operated in Maine, but had to shut the store down due to all the regulatory rules in the state.

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.