Replacing Fireworks With Light Shows for the Holiday

Futuristic light shows are a better choice this summer.

Replacing Fireworks With Light Shows for the Holiday | Futuristic light shows are a better choice this summer.

The 4th of July holiday usually means barbequing with family and friends as well as ending the day with an evening fireworks show that is big, bright, and booming. But there are other ways to light up the sky that are safer and quieter.

For the second year in a row, more US communities are opting to ooh and ah to laser light shows that are set to programmed music or futuristic drone light shows that feature choreographed drones with color-changing lights, reported NBC News San Diego. With temperatures soaring and the summer forest fire season already underway, these are much safer alternatives to fireworks.

Why light shows are a better choice
While many people look forward to a traditional independence day celebration of fireworks. The use of pyrotechnics is a cause for concern.

Besides the fire and safety hazards, there are other environmental issues including air and water pollution. Dr. Kimberly Prather, a chemistry professor at UC San Diego developed an instrument that can measure the composition of the pollutants that are released into the atmosphere during a fireworks display.

“The thing about fireworks is they give a very unique chemical signature that stands out from everything else,” Prather told NBC News. “When there's fireworks shows, we can see when they come, how much of the air pollution they represent, and how much we're breathing in.”

She said that one of the biggest concerns was the emissions of heavy metals including lead, which give fireworks dramatic colors. These metals are very harmful to inhale and since fireworks frequently take place over bodies of water, these metals end up harming fish and marine life.

The noise from fireworks is also a concern for people who suffer from PTSD, and for pets who frequently are terrified of the noise. Eliminating the booms by using light displays is a better way to go.

Laser shows
The town of Taos, New Mexico will be putting on a laser light display instead of a fireworks show, according to Taos News. The town cancelled its fireworks in 2022 due to the severe drought and wildfires and enacted a fireworks ban from May 17 – July 7. While there is no ban in 2023, the city is asking people to be cautious.

Laser light shows use a laser beam – or many beams – set to music to show striking colors and patterns in the sky. Many people have experienced stunning laser shows at Epcot Center in Disney World and at other locations. For Independence day, patriotic music and images can be used.

That’s because laser light show artists can mix colors on a screen or in the air, according to ABC News, and images and words can be generated using a connect-the-dot outline. One of the drawbacks is that due to the technology and energy used, laser shows are a pricey alternative.

Drone light shows
Another alternative to fireworks displays are drone light shows. These light displays feature groups of drones that fly synchronized to create shapes and patterns in the sky, reported NBC News. With new technology, drones can be programmed to recreate almost any design, including flags, and other patriotic designs for independence day.

In 2022, Imperial Beach, California used a drone show after the fireworks company that was hired canceled last minute. While the spectators had mixed feelings, more communities are switching to drone light shows. In 2023, 100 drones will soar above the coast of La Jolla, California for a 15-minute  light show.

While a light display may not be as exciting as the powerful booms, smoke, and bright flashes in the sky, it is a safer alternative for people and the environment.

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