Cumberlandfest features two fireworks displays

Cumberlandfest features two fireworks displays

CUMBERLAND - Celebrating its 23rd year, Cumberlandfest will launch fireworks on both Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 9-10, at Diamond Hill Park.

The first is one of the most unique displays in New England and is shot from the park bandstand in front of a pond at 10 p.m.

"We've never seen anything quite like it, and a lot of people have commented to me that they prefer that fireworks show to the aerial show that we will shoot off on Sunday night," said festival co-chairman Gregg Noury.

Since the beginning, the Sunday aerial fireworks display has been a defining attraction of Cumberlandfest.

Ernie Labbe, who has been on the Cumberlandfest steering committee since its beginning, is the fireworks display director.

"The hill to the right of the main stage has been the setting for all of the aerial displays as the shells can be aimed to maximize the visual effects for those lucky enough to be in the park," said Labbe. "In addition, the shape of the hill allows the blasts of the aerial salutes to concentrate within the park."

Not realizing the impact the setting would have on the presentation, the first fireworks team launched larger shells that proved to be too much for the venue.

"One shell, a green chrysanthemum, detonated early, about 30 feet in the air, causing all of us on the hill to be flattened to ground and seeing green for most of the show," said Labbe.

Cumberland native John Ruggieri of Ocean State PyroTechnic Inc., has been responsible for the Cumberlandfest aerial displays for more than 20 years.

One year, the Cumberlandfest steering committee and Ruggieri implemented an old-style ground display on the back hill. Pushing past some "rocky" difficulties, the presentation ended up becoming a smash hit.

Following the ground displays, Cumberlandfest wanted to find a location that would help immerse the audience into the aerial display. Ruggieri suggested that he could put on a fireworks display directly on the roof of the Diamond Hill bandstand, and set music to the show. The steering committee approved his proposal for one year. It was so successful, that this presentation has become a standard event for Cumberlandfest.

This year, Cumberlandfest will once again have a main stage rooftop display for Saturday, Aug. 9, at 10 p.m. Ruggieri will be at the controls, blending pyrotechnics and music into a visual and audio experience.

On Sunday, Aug. 10, at 9 p.m., the traditional aerial fireworks display will be launched.