by Anna Trusky
Local residents Ed Adams owns Adams Garden of Eden garden center and Jeff Schneider is VP of Marketing and Sales for ASA Environmental Products, both located in Stonington. But little do many know that the mild-mannered duo have pretty flashy side careers as pyrotechnicians for the internationally famous Grucci Fireworks family! Recently they broke their third Guinness Record for World’s Largest Aerial Firework Shell by helping to build and launch a one-ton-plus firecracker on New Year’s Eve off Al Marjan Island, UAE.
More than 100,000 spectators came to see the fantastic display which, at 2,397 pounds, more than doubled the previous record of 1,024 pounds. The shell contained 390 comet stars that burst into the colors of the UAE flag—red, white, and green. It took Phil Grucci, CEO and Creative Director of Fireworks by Grucci, more than 600 hours to design the show and it required another 70,000 man-hours to build the fireworks, with a team of programmers, producers, pyrotechnicians, and documentarians all working on the project.
“I’ve been working for the Gruccis for almost 40 years and helped originate the annual fireworks over the Thames River for the Fourth of July,” Jeff explains. “Ed and I are given the shows on paper and we take it from the schematics and make it happen on the ground. We build everything on site, get the shells and equipment set up, and load the shells according to the schematics so the fireworks get in the air safely, on time, and coordinated to the music.”
Watching the shell go up on New Year’s Eve was quite an experience, Ed and Jeff said. “When the shell went up, it roared! It was phenomenal,” Jeff recalled. “None of us had ever seen anything so large being fired! The shell was so big our safety zone was one mile but we actually fired it from beyond the safety zone so everything was fine.”
“It was amazing and a fantastic experience,” said Ed. “To see it up in the sky, there is nothing I can compare it to. It was just so magnificent—not just to see it but to feel it in your body! It was fun to be part of the whole thing. I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years and every experience is different!”
After the record was confirmed, Phil Grucci said, “Our brief was to deliver a ‘beyond a journey’ design and to fabricate and display this amazing marvel in fireworks. The inspiration of the design was the unique natural resources of Ras Al Khaimah and the natural beauty and expansive space of the Al Marjan Island with a sense of celebration to welcome in the New Year 2018. We pushed the boundary to clinch the Guinness World Records title for the Largest Aerial Fireworks Shell that contributes to the civic pride of Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah and the UAE.”
Ed and Jeff have gone all over the world helping to delight millions of appreciative viewers with dazzling fireworks displays and they look forward to bringing the Grucci magic back to Southeastern Connecticut this July!
To see a video of the incredible New Year’s Eve display, go to: www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/commercial/2018/1/2018-welcomed-with-a-bang-as-firework-shell-record-is-shattered-in-dazzling-displ-509210.