With nearly 250 cues on the firing sheet, and many of those comprising of multiple items, this was a real eye opener for us in terms of manpower, time and cabling required. Half a dozen firers worked extremely hard from the early afternoon onwards to get everything prepared. With a professional approach like this it is easy to see why Kimbolton have won awards including First Place in the Cannes International Pyrotechnic Festival.

It wasn't just the number of items that was mindboggling. With a critical audience of over a hundred trade members, each item had to fire at the right point and match the firing list with no less than 100% accuracy.

A quick look around the firing area revealed the scope of this demonstration. Candles from 14mm up to 60mm stood ready to be attached to fanned racks. Cakes so big they almost needed two people to lift them stood stacked ready for unpacking. A large quantity of shells were there too, with mortar tubes up to eight inches in diameter hinting at the arsenal ready to fire.

In the rest of this section we'll take you on a full guided tour of the display area. Members can click on any image to see a larger version of it, and descriptions can be found under each bank of pictures.

1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7:

1: Wide view looking down across the firing area and on to the distant spectator area. A disused airfield makes an ideal venue! 2: Starting to unpack one of the vans. 3: Assorted items including mortar tubes and candles. 4: A rack of smaller card tubes (angled) and larger plastic tubes behind. 5: Getting ready to start securing the items. 6: Closer look at the comet and bombard Blockbusters, and their bigger brother the 38mm Bazooka. 7: Electrically fired professional displays require a huge amount of additional material, here are just five out of dozens of boxes of support gear.

8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14:

8: Candles require good frames to secure them when used on hard surfaces. 9: Every item had to be firmly fixed in place. 10: A selection of candles up to 50mm. 11: Loading a 150mm (six inch) Silver Peony with Red Pistil shell. 12: A bundle of a dozen 14mm Lion Candles. 13: Silver Tail candle. Note the cat 4 warning on this 50mm firework. 14: A huge 7lb gold and titanium - half and half - gerb.

15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21:

15: This is class - the firer gets his own firing station. This comprised of a wooden shed-like structure, here shown before the front section and window was put on. 16: An assortment of really big cakes including a 100 shot Great Western and 180 shot Brocade Crown to Blue. 17: More large items including a 300 shot Green Stars and Golden Flash fan cake. 18: Two 150 shot cakes - Unusual Stars and Silver Meteorite. 19: 100 shot Wonderful Sight z-firing fan cake. 20: Another view of Great Western. 21: Fireburst effect (maroon effect with fireball).

22: 23: 24: 25: 26: 27: 28:

22: Cascade Wheel. 23: Closer look at one of the wheel's gerbs - complete with a snowman! 24: Two fantastic fans of single shot candles. 25: An assortment of various items. 26: Various rockets which will be a familiar sight to many members. 27: Close-up of the Zink rockets. 28: Another view of a candle rack with bores ranging from 14mm to 38mm.

29: 30: 31: 32: 33: 34:

29: A 19 shot Ballet Blue Chrysanthemum Palm cake. 30: Another 19 shot cake. 31: An interesting look inside a 100 shot fan cake to show the angled bores. 32: The z-firing Pink Crossette 80 shot cake. 33: The extremely good Assorting Rings cake. 34: Flower Mines, a 25 shot cake.

35: 36: 37: 38: 39: 40:

35: Close-up of a 150mm Silver Crossette shell. 36: A Silver Coconut Tree shell. 37: A selection of shells. The three in the middle are 100mm in diameter. 38: Close-up view of a "Flying Saucer". 39: The "Flying Saucer" from a little further back. 40: The Cascade Wheel mounted horizontally on top of a VERY long pole.

41: 42: 43: 44: 45: 46:

41: The label from the Silver Whirl to Red cake. 42: The label from the 50 shot crossette cake. 43: Darryl and Tony discuss the sequence of effects. 44: More hard work stapling the wires down. 45: Pete B checks out some cakes while in the foreground, a rack of six inch tubes and a green eight inch. The only clue that these are loaded and ready to go is the wire coming out of each one. 46: A rack of smaller bore tubes.

47: 48: 49: 50: 51: 52:

47: All the hundreds of wires have to go somewhere! 48: Shots like this really bring home just how much work is involved in professional displays. 49: In the early stages of wiring and you can see some more structure here, as individual items are wired into units which are themselves then wired into others. 50: Cues are labelled on this box. 51: An eight inch (200mm) tube. 52: And a camera's eye view down it.

53: 54: 55: 56: 57: 58: 59:

53: In the firing hut and the scale of this display becomes apparent. 54: Final checks are made on the laptop to ensure all the individual items are wired in OK. 55: We were very careful NOT to press any buttons here! 56: A very interesting looking piece of kit. 57: Over to the other side of the firing hut and this equipment would not look out of place at NASA. 58 & 59: Closer look at the firing system showing the sequence and cue selection buttons.

Many thanks to the Kimbolton crew for their permission to have a look around the site and to take pictures.

After a brilliant afternoon looking around, we headed off to find a good spot to film from. We'd need to be some way back to capture the larger shells, so we headed over to an adjacent field to set up our camera gear and wait for the start of what promised to be an entertaining demonstration.

Return to main fireworks site.