Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - June 29, 2012

Q&A with Dan Nitzan

Most unusual fireworks jobs you've done?

Scatterings at sea. We do human remains. Go figure. We put the human remains in the gun with the fireworks and send them up.

What makes a good fireworks show?

If you want a really good show, it comes mainly down to raw product.

Where do you keep the fireworks?

We store our product in a place that you will never find, in the middle of nowhere. That's a good thing to not know about.

What's on the Homeland Security form?

All of my crew members have to fill out something for the Department of Homeland Security. Of all of these questions, my personal favorite is: "Are you a fugitive from justice?"

Worst fireworks mishap you've experienced?

It was a very long time ago. A shell blew up in the bottom of a gun, scattering neighboring guns all over place and blowing up the road flare the person firing was using. So we quickly reassembled the equipment and continued on with the show, once we got everything back into position. Extra adventure!

Where's the best place to watch a fireworks show from?

Many people like to go up into the hills to watch all the fireworks shows in the Bay Area. Sorry, guys — wrong. The best place to watch the fireworks is directly underneath them. They're going from horizon to horizon. You can hear the lift charge, smell the powder. ... It's right there.

Advice for attending the Shoreline shows on June 30 (Celebrate America) or July 4?

Parking is always difficult for liability reasons. The local businesses don't like to have the public in their parking lots. Some people tend to bring their own fireworks — a really bad idea. ... That's why the golf course is such a good place to watch from. People bring their lawn chairs and picnic blankets and food. ... I can't make enough recommendations to come in via bicycle. Do not drive in.

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