"Pyrotourism" is a term Paul Souza throws out to describe events that draw particular travelers. "These are people who go to fireworks festivals," says Souza, a big player in the big bang world. "This style of festival is very common on the global scale, just not on the American scale."
Rialto-based Pyro Spectaculars by Souza will represent the United States in the International Fireworks Display Contest that began Saturday in the Chinese administrative region of Macao, best known for its flashy casinos and gambling. Companies from 10 countries, including Thailand, China, Italy and others, are scheduled to dazzle and blast their way to a world title during five evenings in September and October.
Souza and company have created spectacular pyrotechnic shows for the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th anniversary on Memorial Day, several Super Bowls and Olympic Games, and other high-profile events.
His entry in the Macao competition will be a 20-minute show called "Love Is All You Need." In the display, fireworks are synchronized to the music in a show he says will be elegant but have lots of bang too. "It's an American tradition: We're loud and boisterous as a culture," he says. "It will be unmistakably American, even though I'm using the Beatles soundtrack."