Small town makes big bang as 'Fireworks Capital of America'

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW CASTLE, Pa.) — Every Fourth of July, millions of Americans watch fireworks shows designed and shipped from a little-known town: New Castle, Pennsylvania.

“We are the fireworks capital of America; we’re fortunate to have that name,” said CEO Stephen Vitale of Pyrotecnico, a fireworks and special effects company headquartered in New Castle.

Italian immigrants began moving to the town in the late-1800s and early-1900s where they worked in tin factories by day and lit up the skies at night with their innovative fireworks. Vitale is in the fourth generation to work at the company founded by his great-grandfather Constantino Vitale.

At the town’s economic peak, nine fireworks-related companies like Pyrotecnico ran their operations from New Castle.

Despite fierce competition from China and elsewhere, the city remains home to two of the largest and oldest fireworks companies in America: Pyrotecnico and Zambelli Fireworks.

Pyrotecnico alone is coordinating fireworks displays in more than 750 cities over this Fourth of July holiday.

Technicians use computer programs to build second-by-second models of their shows that range from holiday celebrations to sporting events.

In recent years, Pyrotecnico has designed fireworks and effects for the Democratic and Republican conventions, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ championship celebration and even Justin Timberlake’s concert tour.

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