SummerGrove resident and Army veteran Mike Schreiber, along with a team of other residents, pulled off their annual Fourth of July fireworks show Saturday, as public shows around the state were canceled.
The show was about 45 minutes long, and Schreiber estimates that around 500 people were in attendance. He said he received multiple messages afterward from neighbors who said with so many things being canceled this year because of COVID-19, they were very grateful for the fireworks show.
Schreiber said that this was their biggest year yet for the show.
His team of other veterans and SummerGrove residents included Dominic Carsale, who served in the Army; Gabe Centenera, who served in the Army; Drew Walters, who served in the Marines; and Robert Negron, who served in the Army.
He said in addition to the team of five veterans, they were joined by a new resident, Alex Stein, who has experience in pyrotechnics.
“The effects of her expertise, our veteran teamwork and the generous contributions from all our residents produced by far our best show ever,” Schreiber said. “I am proud to say our fireworks display is as good as any I have ever seen.”
Schreiber said they produce the show by setting up two motor pits on each corner of the yard with six tubes each. In the middle of the yard sits a platform of box sets also known as cakes.
The person in the center lights his box, and when he’s done the people in the corners fire their tubes. As they do this, the person in the middle reloads. When the tubes in the corners are done they reload as the person in the center fires, and they repeat this for the rest of the show.
At the end of the show, they light two large prewired grand finales. This year, they added an additional motor pit that shoots randomly, Schreiber said.
Schreiber said he moved to SummerGrove in 2005, and a neighbor had mentioned to him that an empty lake lot had been used for launching fireworks in previous years. The neighbor also told Schreiber that there was another group of guys who would launch fireworks from the other side of the lake for a friendly competition.
“I enthusiastically agreed that we should continue this patriotic tradition,” Schreiber said.
He said each year, the number of fireworks increased on both sides of the lake. Schreiber said he decided to ask his surrounding neighbors to contribute $100 each as they seemed to enjoy the show each year.
“They agreed, and with our larger budget of $800, we easily won our Fourth of July fireworks competition to the extent that the other side only returned to watch our victorious display each Fourth,” Schreiber said.
He said each year, the number of spectators for the show increased. At the time, his daughter was a lifeguard at the community pool and would overhear residents comment on the great fireworks show the city or subdivision was putting on each year. His daughter told them that it wasn’t the city, but her dad and some friends.
After hearing this, Schreiber said he decided to start a GoFundMe page to collect donations for an even larger show. He said in the summer of 2018, their budget soared to $1,500.
The following year, at the suggestion of other residents, he reached out to the SummerGrove Community Association and asked them to contribute to the display in addition to the GoFundMe page.
He said the community association agreed, and their budget grew to $3,500 in 2019. Schreiber said the larger budget resulted in a more professional show and even larger crowds.
To create the larger show, Schreiber assembled his team of other veterans who live in SummerGrove to help.
“Being veterans gave us the extra feeling of patriotism and pride,” Schreiber said.
Schreiber said he reached out to the SummerGrove Community Association again this year for a donation. He said they agreed without hesitation, and their donation plus the GoFundMe resulted in a budget of $5,500 for this year’s show.
“We look forward to providing a safe and enjoyable experience for all our SummerGrove residents each year,” Schreiber said.