Fireworks, music festival to take center stage at Hartwood

Deborah Deasy
| Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Pyro Fest, a marathon of fireworks and music, promises an explosion of eye-popping wonders.

A show by Ricardo Caballer S.A., or RICASA, of Valencia, Spain, and a concert by the Clarks lead the lineup of entertainment at Pyro Fest on May 25 at Hartwood Acres in Hampton.

The Spanish firm produced fireworks for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

“Their shows are extremely rhythmic,” said Rocco Vitale, creative director for Pyrotecnico, the Lawrence County fireworks firm that produces Pyro Fest.

Pyro Fest, which debuted last year at Hartwood Acres, bills itself as “America's Largest Fireworks Festival.”

“We've been dreaming about this festival for years,” said Vitale, 34, of Dallas. “We always wanted a lawn-and-blanket type place.

“We're not constricted by what kinds of fireworks we can use there,” he said about Hartwood Acres. “We like to shoot fireworks off crazy structures that we put out in a field.”

Vendors will sell festival foods and items such as glow sticks.

The 2013 edition of Pyro Fest also will offer a daytime salute to U.S. armed forces, live music by multiple bands and “Rock Loves II,” a 20-minute, after-dark spectacle.

Vitale's great-grandfather, the late Constantine Vitale, launched Pyrotecnico as the former Vitale Fireworks firm of New Castle, Lawrence County.

Constantine Vitale started the family business after he emigrated in 1889 from Italy.

“At that time, they were coming over to look for work in the tin mills,” said Rocco Vitale. “They were fireworks hobbyists at night, and that grew into a business.

“Then my grandfather took over the company and ran it through the war — World War II — and then my father took it over in 1977,” he said. “We were basically manufacturing everything and selling it to local communities for their Fourth of July displays.

“In the 1980s the industry kind of shifted and developed into more of a service-based business, where we actually go out and provide the fireworks service,” said Rocco Vitale. “Then in 1993, my brother took it over . . . My brother renamed it Pyrotecnico.

“We don't manufacture anymore. We import everything we consume.”

Tickets are available online at or by calling 800-854-4705. Admission for adults is $22 in advance, $25 at the gate; students pay $13 in advance, $15 at the gate; and admission is free for children 6 and younger. Gates open at 3 p.m. May 25 on the performance field at Hartwood Acres, Middle Road, Hampton. On-site parking is $8 in advance.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or

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