Steve Pierce lights up the skies of CNY

— The man who lights up the sky for Syracuse Jazz Festival lives in Liverpool.

Steve Pierce is the main man at Pyrotecnico, the fireworks firm which rose from the ashes of Auburn’s Telstar Display Fireworks where Pierce had worked with his old friend, the late Bill McDowell. Pyrotecnico uses state-of-the-art computer-generated illuminated choreography to present its mind-blowing fireworks extravaganzas.

Fiery finales

Besides Jazz Fest, Pyrotecnico also provides the fireworks for Symphony Syracuse’s annual Fourth of July show now at the State Fairgrounds and has also done special projects for Le Moyne College, Syracuse University and companies such as WelchAllyn.

And for more than half of Syracuse Jazz Fest’s 30 years, Steve has staged its fiery finale starting in the late-1990s down city at Clinton Square.

“At that time no one had ever shot fireworks off of a [parking] garage roof in downtown Syracuse,” Steve remembered. “I had worked with the city on several projects, but they were all looking at us as if I had lost my mind when we starting to discuss Jazz Fest at Clinton Square. We actually did a test fire off of the garage roof in order to show the city that it was safe before they would approve it.”

Telstar’s crew encountered an unexpected obstacle just getting the rockets up to the roof. “We had to lower the air pressure on the trucks in order to be able to drive in the garage,” Steve said.

June 22 to 23 in Jamesville

Festival founder and artistic director Frank Malfitano, who lives in Baldwinsville, appreciates Steve’s longtime commitment to Jazz Fest.

“Great guy, Steve. His connection dates back to our first fireworks foray in Clinton Square maybe in ’98 or ’99,” Malfitano said. “We had to deal with the city bureaucrats to make it happen, but we did it. Lots of history. And now Price Chopper is in its 10th year with us sponsoring the fireworks, and it’s been awesome.”

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