Pyro-Mania: Fireworks Fans Hold Explosive Meeting

Volunteers work on a display to be fired at a wedding later that day at the 2013 Pyrotechnics Guild International conference on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, at Coopers Lake campground in Slippery Rock, Pa.
Associated Press + More

By KEVIN BEGOS, Associated Press

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. (AP) — Many people set off a few fireworks on special occasions, but there's another world of die-hard pyrotechnics lovers who build hand-made comets, rockets, and exploding shells from scratch.

[GALLERY: 2013 Pyrotechnics Guild Conference]

Thousands of fireworks fanatics are gathering this week in western Pennsylvania for the annual Pyrotechnics Guild International conference.

About 2,000 guild members and their families are attending. The scene is part backyard laboratory, part country cookout. There's also serious security, to monitor all the mixtures that can sparkle, burn, or explode in just about any way imaginable.


There's an art show, events for "junior pyros" and even a wedding for a couple who met at a past conference.

The general public can't buy fireworks there but can see displays most nights.

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