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Posted on Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 3:05 p.m.

Big Chill at the Big House to include in-game, post-game fireworks displays

By Jeff Arnold


Fireworks were part of the rededication of Michigan Stadium on Sept. 4.

Lon Horwedel |

Aaron Enzer is no stranger to producing fireworks displays for crowds that exceed 100,000 people.

They just haven't been all seated in the same venue watching a college hockey game before.

So when the University of Michigan approached the owner of Manchester-based ACE Pyro about putting together a fireworks display for next month's Big Chill at the Big House, Enzer knew he had to come up with something, well, big.

"Certainly, we are going all out," Enzer said Monday.

Most of Enzer's bigger productions come in the summer when his company puts together fireworks shows for municipalities hosting Fourth of July festivities.

But when it comes to proving pyrotechnic entertainment for next month's Michigan-Michigan State outdoor hockey game at Michigan Stadium, Enzer knows he has a challenge.

"It's going to be a high-profile event," he said. "Not only is it 100,000 people, but it's an event when you're building a hockey rink inside a football stadium. And so we were very excited when they asked us about doing something."

Michigan's athletic department will seek approval for the show Thursday from the Board of Regents. The event, which has been sold out for months, is expected to draw more than 105,000.

If approved, fireworks would be displayed during player introductions prior to the Michigan-Michigan State main event, which begins at 3 p.m. on Dec. 11. Fireworks would follow each Michigan goal, sending colorful sparks into the air for approximately five seconds.

The event would close with a 10-minute post-game show, which would be choreographed to music. Fireworks used both prior to and after the game would originate from the rooftops of the east and west towers of Michigan Stadium.

Fireworks during the game would come from the field level. The display would of the close proximity variety, referring to a style of fireworks used in a more confined area. Pyrotechnics used in arena events, like NBA games, are examples of close proximity display, which take into consideration how close spectators would be to the display itself.

Enzer said that winter productions are often more dramatic than those done during the summer. He said in addition to fireworks reflecting off the snow, Enzer said the sound of the pyrotechnics is more crisp in cold air.

His company has been in planning for the event for some time and Enzer said that by the time the show takes place, thousands of man hours will have gone into it.

"We hope people are going to enjoy the show as much as we are going to enjoy putting it together," Enzer said.

Jeff Arnold covers Michigan hockey for and can be reached at (734) 623-2554 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @jeffreyparnold.



Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 12:13 a.m.

I just hope I can watch the fireworks show from outside of the stadium...


Wed, Nov 17, 2010 : 12:11 a.m.

Yah - quit putting a big chill on The Big Chill....


Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 10:18 a.m.

Come on folks. Let's get real. Those of us with tickets - we have 6 for the whole family - are going to have fun. We're going to be freezing our butts off and having fun. Fireworks will be an added fun. Is this really where you have to focus your energy complaints?

Lets Get Real

Tue, Nov 16, 2010 : 7:46 a.m.

Am I hearing this correctly? The game is sold out? 100,000 people believe, through whatever marketing has already taken place, that this is an event they want to be part of. They've put down their money and have their tickets. So, now we need to spend more money to make this a more attractive event to attend - even though it has been sold out for months? This type of marketing is typically an effort to generate more interest and sell more tickets. What is the purpose here? Did they sell more tickets than they expected and realized mroe margin? Of course then, we need to spend it indiscriminately. In an addition to that - no matter how the pyrotechnics are defined (close proximity fireworks - anyone remember the nightclub in Rhode Island?) the choice to make the event more attractive poses some risk. Yes, they used some at the rededication, but not shooting them from above and quite so frequently. And, oh by the way, did I mention, this is a hockey game - a huge in-state rivalry hockey game. Why isn't that enough? I never quite understand. Does anyone understand, we are in a strained economic condition? Budgets are tight. Families are struggling to make tuition payments, going into debt to educate their children and finding scholarships and loans more scarce. The predominately wealthy, successful Michigan graduates that make up the Board of Regents takes up the question at their meeting to allow fireworks at the BIG CHILL. No more pressing concerns to discuss? Yes please, let's approve frivolous expenditure of funds. It will be fun! Who cares if we were elected to be responsible stewards of the taxpayer money? When is the next election? Oh, yes, that's right - it is athletic money. So yes, please, as representatives of a public institution, let's not allocate the price of this frivolity to offering another athlete an educational opportunity through a scholarship. Let's, quite literally, blow all that money up. Congrats to the small business owner in Manchester. I am happy for you. I'm pleased you will generate some out-of-season revenue and, at least if it's going to happen (certainly I have no control over the decision), I'm pleased they chose a local Michigan company to provide the service. But Let's Get Real - This is unnecessary.


Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 10:05 p.m.

COOL I have my ticket it came in the mail I will be there... Let it snow........


Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 7:43 p.m.

Let's hope so. Thanks for the response.

Jeff Arnold

Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 7:19 p.m.

Alpha:The fireworks display they are considering would be a close proximity display, which is a different kind of pyrotechnics than are used in larger, more open settings. If you've been to a Pistons game or any other arena event where fireworks are used, those kinds of display would be similar to what they will use at the Big Chill. This particular company has done winter shows before and the owner told me they are experienced in putting on shows in the kind of weather conditions that will exist next month.


Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 6:58 p.m.

we are all about MARKETING in this athletic dept. MARKETING MARKETING--the MICHIGAN brand---that's what the man from domino's farms says. better he should worry about the product on the ice or the football field or basketball floor than ten minutes of pryrotechnics shot off into the A2 night.

David Briegel

Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 6:57 p.m.

And the targets will be anyone wearing "Big Chill at the Big House" apparel!

David Briegel

Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 6:56 p.m.

I hear they will blow up the ice and attendees will be mutilated by the ice cubes! Nefariously of course!


Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 6:04 p.m.

Now that the terrorists have been notified, how hard would it be for them to replace or add something nefarious to the fireworks? After all the major ingredient is gunpowder! People are willing to be sexually assaulted by the TSA daily but are willing to be put at risk for a football game? Yah I question their priorities.


Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 5:56 p.m.

Yeah... but think about this: If there are fireworks, it will be awesome... and awesomeness is worth the risk of a few meaningless human lives. Priorities people... priorities. fireworks > people... that's all I'm sayin'


Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 5:16 p.m.

Perhaps not; the double standard regarding customer safety is remarkable though: the threat of human injury from falling fireworks is very real; there were a number of folks injured at the airport shows; this venue is smaller than the airport was; a stadium firework accident could easily ruin quite a few things...

Marshall Applewhite

Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 5:02 p.m.

AlphaAlpha, Typically I agree with about 95% of what you say, but I think you're way off in this instance. There is no comparison between a terror plot and a fireworks display.


Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 4:56 p.m.

If there is a breeze, fans are at a far greater risk than any terror plot will subject them to. People should not be potentially under the action.