Andrew Howard is a pyrotechnician, but he’s also an artist.
The fourth generation fireworks manufacturer said he’s been around fireworks since he was in a bassinet and passionate about the colourful and labour intensive light shows he creates.
The near century-old business Howard & Sons will be responsible for Wollongong’s bespoke New Year’s Eve display with new effects that haven’t been seen before.
“You’re always seeking perfection in the art form and always trying to improve it. The passion within has to come out for the end product to be perfected,” Mr Howard said.
He said the process begins with imagination then the idea is put down on paper before hitting the factory floor for design and the “pieces of the jigsaw come together”.
This year more than 7500 individual fireworks have been produced from scratch – mainly firing along the breakwall at Wollongong Harbour – which Mr Howard said will create beautiful reflections of the sky.
“In the final testing a couple of weeks ago there was some pretty jaw dropping effects,” he said.
The 12-minute display is synchronised to an upbeat soundtrack, also curated by Howard & Sons, so to “end the year on a high”.
The best vantage points for the show are around the Belmore Basin foreshore with entertainment kicking off at 5pm and the fireworks at 9pm.
Authorities have warned revellers to leave the pyrotechnics to the experts – like Mr Howard – or they could face injury, death or at least a fine of up to $27,500.
“Fireworks and people who don’t know how to use them don’t mix, in particularly on New Year’s Eve when people celebrate and are under the influence of alcohol, they shouldn’t be playing with fireworks,” Mr Howard said.
A 52-year-old Central Coast man lost his life last year when a 10-year-old firework exploded in his face at a gathering on Budgewoi Beach.
While SafeWork NSW has seized almost 150 kilograms of fireworks in the past week from northern Sydney, which authorities believe were going to be sold or used illegally.