Tag Archive | "grucci"

HarborFrost Announced for 2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


web_HarborFrost-2011_6428

By Claire Walla


Riding the coattails of last year’s well-attended event, this year’s HarborFrost celebration was officially launched this week. And according to Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce member Robert Evjen, it will up the ante over last year’s inaugural fest.

In addition to fireworks over Long Wharf and ice sculptures on Main Street — both events are returning in keeping with the event’s “Fire and Ice” theme — Evjen said this year the event will also incorporate a three-and-a-half-hour set of live music, which he referred to as “Musical Brunch.”

“The bottom line is we wanted to extend the day over last year’s half-day event,” Evjen explained. The music will begin around 11:30 a.m. and last until 3 p.m. when the rest of the day’s activities will begin, starting with the first ice sculpture carved on Long Wharf. “We wanted to make it a full day this year and entice people to come down to the village early for brunch.”

And, of course, live music.

The musical portion of the day is being organized by Kelly Connaughton, head of the Sag Harbor American Music Festival (which, like HarborFrost, also made its debut in 2011). Though the details are still being hashed out, Connaughton said the morning will include performances by at least five artists (most likely local), who will play music in the various shops and businesses on Main Street.

The businesses will pay to host the artists and, Connaughton added, that fee will be partially supplemented by the Chamber of Commerce, which Connaughton said she hopes will give the businesses further incentive to pay for a show. In addition to providing live entertainment and bringing shoppers to Main Street, Connaughton added, “It will be great for us to get musicians earning some money in the lean winter months.”

So far, she said she’s received verbal commitments to host music from Page at 63 Main, Phao, Lifes’tyle and BookHampton.

As for the main attractions, Evjen said the fire dancers will be back this year, whipping strings of fire for a crowd at the foot of Long Wharf. Evjen said the Grucci family is already committed to doing the evening’s fireworks show and Fear No Ice will be here again this year (chain saws and all) to create two new ice sculptures on Main Street. The sculpting — to take place at 3 p.m. on Long Wharf and 4 p.m. behind the Civil War monument on the southern end of Main Street at the Madison Street split — will bookend HarborFrost’s fundraising Frosty Plunge, at 3:30 p.m.

In addition to making a mass of bodies shiver and teeth chatter, the event will raise money to benefit the Sag Harbor Ambulance Corps. Last year’s event attracted a crowd of more than 50 participants and more than 100 spectators, according to Evjen. While TV personality Matt Lauer (a Noyac resident) and Southampton Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato (a Sag Harbor native) wowed crowds by bracing the cold at last year’s plunge, to shake things up this year, rumor has it the Sag Harbor Village Trustees will challenge Southampton Town officials in a race to raise funds for the plunge. (That’s just what we heard.)

As of yet, the 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. slot has not officially been filled with an event, but Evjen said this will most likely include some sort of race along Main Street. Whether this includes dog sleds or bed sleds — both ideas have been floated (the Chamber is currently looking for volunteers willing to conceptualize and organize the event)—the hypothetical race will in some way spotlight the HarborFrost King and Queen.

New to HarborFrost this year, the Sag Harbor Express will be organizing a contest for which those so inclined are encouraged to submit the names of individuals they believe should be crowned HarborFrost royalty. Details will be provided at a later date. (Check back in on our Facebook page for more.) Also, yoga instructor Hailey Schmitz will be hosting a candlelit yoga session at the Sag Harbor Gym Corp. and Dodds and Eder will organize an evening art show.

This year’s event will take place on Saturday, February 11, with a rain date slated for Sunday the 12. Don’t worry, the weekend is sandwiched right between the Super Bowl and President’s Day weekend.

“Last year we planned HarborFrost during Super Bowl weekend, and we didn’t contemplate a snow date or a rain date,” Evjen explained.

When inclement weather threatened to rain on last year’s parade, Chamber members were caught in a pickle. (Fortunately, the rain that came down didn’t deter festival goers from enjoying the day.) This year, Evjen said they’re prepared.

“Our main concern is the fireworks,” he said. Evjen estimated the cost of the fireworks display would be about 60 percent of the event’s overall budget, which is currently estimated at around $10,000. (Last year’s HarborFrost cost about $7,000 to put on.) He added that this year’s fireworks display is expected to be even longer than last year’s.

“Although last year there was inclement weather,” Evjen continued, “The general atmosphere was great. The idea is to build upon that this year.”

Fire in the Sky: Grucci Fireworks for HarborFrost

Tags: , , , , , ,


Sailfest - Grucci

By Annette Hinkle


Fireworks are as American as apple pie and baseball, and like those other traditions most often associated with Fourth of July.

But on Saturday, as part of HarborFrost, a pyrotechnics show will be offered at the end of Long Wharf at 5:45 p.m. Fireworks in February? It’s not commonplace, but because the show will be presented by Fireworks by Grucci, the Brookhaven firm whose name is synonymous with fantastic displays — it’s likely to generate a fair amount of winter oohs and ahhs.

Grucci producer Philip Butler admits that is unusual for his firm to offer fireworks at this time of year, but he expects it to be a great experience for those willing to brave the cold.

When you think about it, there are a lot of benefits to winter fireworks —the sun sets early, so the show can begin well before dinner time. And let’s face it, after the winter we’ve had so far, a lot of us could use a bit of cheering. That, Butler says, is something Grucci can surely do. While he stresses this will be a relatively small show by Grucci standards — a City Class program running around six minutes — Butler promises it will be a good one.

“In this case I’m thinking an all white scene over the water would be very dramatic,” he says. “In the winter it’s that much more stunning.”

Though firework displays here are viewed as a fairly literal interpretation of “the bombs bursting in air” referenced in the Star Spangled Banner, their origin can actually be traced to 12th century China when they were purportedly invented to scare away evil spirits. It was another Chinese invention – gun powder — that gave the fireworks the lift they needed to break the bonds of earth.

Today, the goal is not to scare people away, but bring them together, and Butler explains that no matter the size of the show, there’s a certain protocol.

“Much like any entertainment, there’s always an opening,” explains Butler. “And then the program settles into scenes and those may be of different colors — red, white, green or gold. Then there’s a finale. ”

The color of each individual firework is a matter of chemistry and the different metal salts used determine the specific colors that are seen in the sky.

“Red, white, blue, green, yellow — those are the five primary colors and other hues are combined exactly as they are with paint,” says Butler. “To make red, you use a compound of strontium and your blues are copper compounds. The green is barium. The chemicals are of a fine baby powder constituency to make stars, which are the individual points of light.”

“Purple is the most difficult color to make, and almost always the most expensive,” explains Butler who has found that despite the endless color possibilities, white remains a crowd favorite.

“It’s so stunningly beautiful,” he says. “That’s why it’s always been popular. All white scenes draw the most ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs.’”

Though designs have changed, the practical realities of getting fireworks into the sky hasn’t, and in order to launch and break the shells, black powder (gun powder without the graphite) is used.

“Fireworks are almost ageless, having stayed exactly the same in the manufacturing and display mode,” explains Butler. “What has changed is the firing sequence.”

That, explains Butler, is done electronically now — from control panels similar to audio boards like those used for concerts.

“Because of electronic firing, the old fashioned ‘light ‘em up,’ isn’t done anymore,’ explains Butler. “It’s just like with electricity in a house, if you have 15 switches, you need 15 wires.”

“In this case, you need wires for every shell,” he says.

And how many shells will there be Saturday? Butler’s keeping mum on that one.

“You don’t want people to concentrate on the number,” he says. “It’s what your eye tells you.”