The Pyrotechnics Guild International gave a 20-minute fireworks show Wednesday night as a preview of next year’s convention to be held at Cooper’s Lake Campground in Muddy Creek Township.
MUDDY CREEK TWP —Family oriented fun with fireworks and an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 visitors to take in four 2½-hour fireworks shows are expected next year at Cooper’s Lake Campground. That is what the 40th annual convention of the Pyrotechnics Guild International is expected to be, PGI President Dan Creagan said Wednesday night at the group’s formal introduction to Butler County. The county tourism and convention bureau has been working for four years to bring PGI’s convention to the county, Jack Cohen, the bureau’s executive director, told a group of about 50 officials and business owners. The evening introduction at Cooper’s Lake, the site of the Aug. 10 to 17 event, was punctuated with a 20-minute sample of the types of fireworks PGI will have on display for four nights next summer. That display stopped cars along nearby roads, including Interstate 79, and elicited cheers from nearby houses. Creagan said that during the convention, PGI members and their families will learn how to make fireworks and set up displays. A fireworks business expo will be held, and a fireworks craft display, including quilts, will be featured. “This is where fireworks companies from all across the nation will come to show what they can do, so you’re going to see fireworks that you’ve never seen before,” he said. Creagan and 15 members of the PGI staff are visiting the county this week to survey Cooper’s Lake, which will be followed up by a more extensive planning trip in April. He said the PGI officials and volunteers will meet with law officials and first responders to make sure the August event will be safe. To that end, PGI will come to the county with its own security/medical/fire personnel who will work with community responders during the event. The event is expected to be a major economic boost to the county. This year in LaPorte, Ind., the convention was a small event, which brought in about $3.5 million to the regional economy. “The convention here is going to be much larger because we have more space, so we estimate the region should get between $5 million and $5.5 million when the week is over from PGI members and visitors to the evening shows,” Creagan said. “This is a lot of fun, and we are looking forward to being here next summer,” he added. For information about PGI, go to the group’s Web site at www.pgi.org, or the tourism bureau’s Web site at www.visitbutlercounty.com.