• Who do I contact if I have problems, questions or suggestions?
    Send mail to shells@4thjuly.com

  • Will I really be helping make the fireworks happen?
    In addition to covering the cost of the shell, your donation helps cover all the other costs of the show. Don't forget there are many thousands of volunteer hours that go into choreographing, sorting, squibbing, distributing shells and cleanup, so you are getting a real bargin. Eveyone you see helping on the 4th is a volunteer. Without your donation there would be one less shell though.

  • What other costs are involved?
    A lot of companies donate supplies and services but there are still lots of costs for items that arn't dontated such as
    • Insurance
    • Truck rental for transporting the shells
    • Storage of the fireworks.
    • lumber, nails etc for Racks and the tubes for the shells
    • Tent and stage rental
    • Police and medical
    • Entertainment
  • Can I request to sponsor my favorite shell type?
    Not this year, perhaps in future shows. Shells come in such a variety of shapes and sizes, there would be too many for us to keep track of. Making the shells is an art and is a trade secret in the fireworks industry.

  • Where are the 3 and 4" shells shot from
    Most of the 3 and 4" sheels are located in the Fronts. They are the 30 boxes parallel to the road. The fronts also contain the shells for the fancy angled shots.

  • Why didn't I see my shell go off?
    It's very rare that a shell remains in the tubes and does not fire. More likely the choreography had to be changed or the shell had to be substituted for another type at the last minute if it is not in inventory as expected.

  • I'm sitting at the BJC center, why isn't the sound from the speakers in sync with the fireworks?
    We can't stress enough that you should bring a FM radio preferrably w/ headphones. Even being a couple of hundred feet from the speakers the sound will be delayed. If you don't have head phones the delayed sound from the explosions will overpower even the loudest Boom Box.

  • Will other people have shells with the same launch time?
    Yes. The firing system is capable of launching many shells at once from anywhere on the field or possibly from remote locations. In the past the same shell type has been fired from the local field and Mount Nittany so that they explode at the same time.

  • Why are launch times in 1/10th of seconds and song times in seconds.
    The show is choreographed to the complete final sound track and so the launch time is very accurate. The computer knows a estimate of the time it takes from launch to when it bursts and compensates for that by launching the shell at the right time for it's burst to be in time with the music. Since we are dealing with real world physics and chemistry here the actual burst time can very a little (10th of seconds) but we think you will agree it's pretty amazingly accurate. It also will be tough to tell when your song starts as some songs start very quietly.

  • Can I get a picture of my shell?
    Maybe the shell it's self but probably not what it looks like in the air this year. We take videos of one of each shell type to calculate the launch time so the computer knows how far in advance to launch the shell so it bursts in the air right in time to the music. We can't get a picture of your particular shell since if we shot it off to take it's picture it would not be much use during the show. Seriously, we will do some testing to see if next year we can show you a frame from the video that contains your shell after the show.

  • Do I have to live in State College to sponsor a shell?
    No, anyone can buy a shell. If you cannot be here to watch the show, it will be broadcast on several local television stations, and the sound track will be broadcast over 93.7 FM "THE BUS".

  • Will I know when my shell is scheduled to launch and burst before the show? How about what song it's part of?
    The launch time of your shell isn't known until it it choreographed into the show. This was recently completed so you can view it on your certificate or button

  • What are the Slat and Cue numbers?
    The Computer knows which shell to fire by the Slat and Cue numbers. A Slat is a strip or block of wood with metal contacts to connect the Electric Match wires into. Each metal contact is a Cue. The firing computer can set off 1 or multiple Cues at any point in the show.

  • Can another shell have the same Slat and Cue?
    Yes. Several shells can be wired to the same Cue if they are to be launched at the same exact time.

  • Can I get a printed certificate mailed to me or someone else as a gift?
    No, but we are considering this for next year if there is enough interest.

  • Has this been done before?
    Not that we know of. Please let us know if you have heard of anything like this.

  • Can I have what's left of my shell after the show?
    We would love to have you come help with the cleanup the day after the show but we are not hopeful you will find any remains of your shell.

  • What happens if my shell does not launch?
    With the computer controlled Fireone® firing system there are very few shells that won't launch. Any that don't are shot manually after the show is over so that they arn't a safety hazard

  • Does everyone get the same shell type?
    There are about 500 different shell types in inventory and a good percentage of these types are used in the show. You are assigned a shell from those being used this year and there will be other people will the same shell type. But in any case your shell is unique.