Crews harness up to place New Year's Eve Space Needle fireworks

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by JOE FRYER / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on December 30, 2010 at 5:48 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 30 at 6:27 PM

SEATTLE -- Crews at Pyro Spectaculars put on a couple thousand fireworks shows each year. But the New Year's Eve show in Seattle is unlike any other.

"This is unique and special," said Ian Gilfillan, the company's executive vice president. "We love it."

That's because Seattle is the only show where fireworks are fired several hundred feet up in the air, from an iconic building like the Space Needle.

Crews placed fireworks on top of the Needle's roof Thursday. The biggest challenge, they said, is getting all of the fireworks up to the top, through narrow doors and staircases, and out to the edge of the roof.

"A lot of the time on rigging. The show has to deal with just the logistics of moving stuff up the building," said Jon Berson, a Pyro Spectaculars employee.

Harnesses kept workers from falling over the edge of the Space Needle. The surface is very sticky, especially on a day like Thursday, which was a clear day, free of snow, rain and ice. 

Crews worked on lower levels of the Needle on Wednesday, when the weather was much more dramatic.

The company spent about three weeks on the show's music and design, then another two to three weeks building the show.  It takes about three days to set up the show in Seattle, plus another day to take it all down. All of that work for an eight-minute show.

"But you know what?  It's worth it," Gilfillan said.

The show starts at 11:59 p.m. Friday with a countdown to 2011. 

At least 30,000 people are expected to gather around the Space Needle to watch the show.  Many more will watch from surrounding neighborhoods.

Join Allen Schauffler and Meeghan Black for "New Years at the Needle," LIVE from the Space Needle starting at 11:35 p.m. on both KING 5 and KING5.com.

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