Fireworks firm’s drone show

By Hannah Hughes, Chronicle Summer Staff

Santore World Famous Fireworks, the company that does fireworks for Lake George Village, has branched into drones, forming a separate company, Amazing Drone Shows.

“A drone show consists of multiple drones that…have their own independent light system on them…. We can put them in the air, and we can make shapes, images, logos, words, anything you could possibly imagine,” Jeff Ward, general manager of Santore’s World Famous Fireworks and manager of Amazing Drone Shows, told The Chronicle.

They’ve recently put on shows at Saratoga National and in Atlantic City. Now, they are set to accompany Lake George’s Thursday night fireworks on July 13 with 400 drones to light up the sky, one of the first displays in the area of its kind.

The technological displays made their way to the United States about three years ago and are “becoming more and more popular as we move forward with the technology,” Mr. Ward said.

“More people want to see a drone show because it’s the new and the greatest thing out there.”

Mr. Ward said drones can do things that are a lot harder to do with fireworks, like making sharp images, logos and letters. He said drones provide a great alternative for people who might be sensitive to loud, sudden noises or flashing lights.

“These [drones] are definitely a quieter situation…a milder entertainment at night,” said Mr. Ward.

He said drones “can go the distance and provide some sort of entertainment at nighttime, as an alternative to fireworks.”
Drone shows are a lot more complicated to operate and maintain than one might think. Mr. Ward said there are a lot of steps and regulations to make sure they’re compliant with the Federal Aviation Administration.

“You have to have a pilot’s license in order to operate the drones,” Mr. Ward said. “You provide [the FAA] with…everything that you would possibly think of for a fireworks show, multiplied by two…to make sure that everything is safe.”

Drone shows are “significantly more expensive than fireworks,” he said.

“Based on the number of drones we put in a show, the length of the show and the programming that goes into it, a drone show… could be anywhere from 20,000 to up to 150,000 dollars,” said Mr. Ward.

Although drone shows are cutting edge, Mr. Ward said fireworks are still Santore’s “number one priority. People still love fireworks…People like the drone shows, it’s something new, it’s something different, but like I said, fireworks have been around forever…[People] love the noise, they love the excitement, they love the impact of it, so I really don’t think that drones will really ever replace fireworks.”

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