We stepped onto the rooftop of the Sheraton Downtown recently to see the New Year's Eve fireworks, all lined up in careful rows, excitedly awaiting their chance to blow. The roof was unforgivingly slick, and clear tarps were put down to protect the massive amount of pyro-technic engineering marvels that the city will see (and hear) explode on Thursday night. From the rooftop, we could see the State Capital Building to the right and the rest of the busy Denver skyline to the left. It doesn't even know what's about to hit it.
"Denver does it right," says Jim Burnett, fireworks aficionado and president of Western Enterprises, the pyrotechnic company that works side by side with the Downtown Denver Partnership in designing the epic New Year's Eve firework show along 16th Street Mall. For this year's fourteenth annual firework show, they've pulled out all the stops. "Denver is so fortunate. I don't think you understand how lucky we are. You have the 9 p.m. show for kids, and then the midnight showing for everyone else out on the town; the timing is just well thought out. Denver really is smart about it, it's a big show."
The Sheraton Downtown is ground zero of the whole shebang. "We have the command center here, and from the Sheraton, we are communicating with the other rooftops. For us, it's all about safety, that's our number one concern."
The fireworks go off at 9 p.m. and again at midnight. One for the kids, and one for the drunk adults partying downtown. The Sheraton is the first location for the fireworks, and the rest are launched from a second non-disclosed building further up 16th Street Mall. This is the reason the show always feels so grand and all-encompassing of the city skyline.
What else sets Denver's firework show apart? "It's unique, we change it up every year." Burnett explains, "It's not like it is a clone thing and we just bring in the same show from last year."
"We manufacture 98 percent of this product through our manufacturing company called Sky Works. The best part is, we have abilities to color change, which means the stars go up, it'll go from red to green to blue. And no one else does this. This is what's kind of cool about ours. Another new thing this year is we are integrating other manufacturers, so it's the first time you'll see a huge mix of our products and then the addition of a few others," Burnett continues, "It'll be quite the show."
Just like in previous years, DJ's will be playing upbeat holiday scores to go along with the show on 16th Street Mall starting at 8 p.m. The Sheraton still has rooms available for New Year's Eve night, so get on it. Continue scrolling to see more photos from the rooftop preview of the firework show at Sheraton Downtown.
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