4th July

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Bits and Tidbits about Sparklers

A sparkler is a form of firework that you can normally hold safely in your hands. Unlike firecrackers, it is not meant to explode. Unlike roman candles, it does not discharge stars or comet shells. Instead, it burns slowly and steadily while emitting a brilliant, sometimes colored, shower of sparks. In the United States, it is customary to celebrate the Fourth of July with sparklers along with other fireworks display. Sparklers fall under the “1.4G” in the federal U.S. Fireworks Classification, meaning they are consumer fireworks that you can ordinarily buy from any retail outlet without any special permit. However, some states may impose additional restrictions. In fact, in Delaware, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey, all kinds of consumer fireworks are not allowed. In Colorado, consumer fireworks that are not explicitly permitted by the state’s law are deemed prohibited. Fortunately, sparklers are among those explicitly permitted by the state, along with fountains, ground spinners, glow worms, trick noisemakers and other novelty items. How are sparklers made? Typically, a sparkler consists of a wire or stick that has been dipped into a slurry or batter of pyrotechnic chemicals, including aluminum, magnesium, iron or zinc dust, potassium chloride, charcoal, and a solution of dextrin and boric acid with water. Other ingredients may be added to produce special effects. For instance, if barium nitrate is added, you will have green sparks. If strontium nitrate is used instead, you will have red sparks. If ferrotitanium is mixed, you will have golden sparks. The chemicals however have to be exactly proportioned according to formula. Otherwise, there is risk that they may explode. Once dried, when one end of the chemically-coated wire or stick is ignited, it will slowly burn until it reaches the un-coated part. If made according to exact specifications, the un-coated end of the wire or stick should be safe to hold while the sparkler is in the process of burning. History of sparklers Most historians generally credit the Chinese for having invented gunpowder and fireworks around 2,000 years ago. However, it was the Germans who were actually responsible for making the first sparklers in recorded history according to Dennis Manochio Sr., the curator of the Fourth of July Americana & Fireworks Museum in Saratoga, California, and the historian of the American Pyrotechnic Association. According to Manochio’s account, around the 1850s, the Germans learned to dip wire into a paste of gunpowder and iron dust to make wunderkerzen, literally meaning “sparklers.” In 1894, they introduced aluminum into the formula [...]

By |2019-03-15T02:10:33+00:00June 30th, 2014|4th July, Holidays, Sparklers|1 Comment

Competitive Eater Crazy Legs Conti

Major League Eating sponsors competitive eating contests around the world. In the following interview we talk about them. They run about 80 contests a year. This is primarily an interview with Crazy Legs Conti a competitive eater and several time champion.   Crazy Legs Conti uses Zen to prepare for contests. Zen is "a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition."    

Fireworks and Safety for the 4th of July

Fireworks are part of the July 4th celebrations. They are synonymous to the nation’s birthday as backyard barbecues, parades down the main street, and apple pie. They are relatively safe if only people use their common sense. There are also some easy to follow rules that make handling fireworks in County fairgrounds safer. But even with the rules, it seems like people ignore the rules. Each year people are brought to the emergency room due to fireworks-related injuries around the July 4th celebrations. People should remember that fireworks are dangerous and can cause serious burns. If you are tasked to set up fireworks at the county fairgrounds, there are some things that you must do first. One of the first things you need to do is to make sure you have already appointed a firing team. It should be composed of no more than three people with one person serving as the leader of the group. Members of the firing team must have experience of lighting fireworks and have knowledge of safety regulations.   Organizing the Fireworks Display You must ensure that the firing site can accommodate all the fireworks you intend to fire. There must be ample spacing in order to avoid accidental firing of fireworks. Don’t forget to read the instructions on all the fireworks. Each item behaves differently and might be required to be set up and installed in several ways. Make sure that the right side is facing the audience, especially the fan style cakes. There are some types that are required to be buried in soft earth or attached to wooden stakes buried in the ground. These are candles, fountains, and cakes. If they are attached to wooden stakes, they should be attached with strong cloth tape to ensure that the firework stays behind the stake and doesn’t fall over or face the crowd. The fireworks must be angled away from the crowd. If the weather is not too nice, you can use plastic bags to keep fireworks dry. Some fountains have a cone shape and make them hard to be attached to anything. You can place the fountain on a flat surface and avoid placing it on the grass that could make the firework unstable and tip over. Rockets should be launched from tubes. You can make a DIY project using plumbing pipe. Just make sure that the stick of the rocket can freely liftoff form the pipe. It must not get stuck in the pipe. If the rocket has a [...]

4th pf July contest crazy

I have been looking at county fair and event contests. Have you ever wondered what happened to some of these old fashioned contests our grandparents played? They are alive and well at successful county fairs, everywhere, like for instance here are some of the contests going on at the Houlton Agricultural Fair in Maine over the 4th of July fair. Pie Eating Contest, Bubble Gum Blowing Contest, Oreo Cookie Stacking Contest, Hula Hoop Contest, Ice Cream Eating Contest, Egg Toss Contest, Pig Scramble, on to the Kid’s Cooking Contest, Kid’s Karaoke, Kid’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Contest, Soccer Ball Contest, Water Balloon Contest, Little Mr. and Mrs. Firecracker Contest, Salsa Chugging Contest, Moxie Chugging Contest, Basketball Contest, Kid’s Tractor Contest, Burping Contest, Skillet Throw Contest, Cash Cube Contest Now the San Diego County Fair in California is also going on at this time, with the following contests… Watermelon Spitting Contest, Frozen T Shirt Contest, Corn Husking Contest, Kid’s Best Hannah Montana Look a-like contest, Blue potato toss contest, Most patriotic costume contest, and because its California it is followed by a wine tasting contest. The MORAL here folks thank heaven, is that the computer games and interaction are not everything… thank heaven we can still have fun!

By |2019-03-27T22:24:54+00:00June 21st, 2009|4th July, Contests, Holidays|0 Comments

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