It’s no secret that the state of Alabama boasts some of the country’s best Independence Day fireworks shows. But natives from Muscle Shoals to Dauphin Island plan their patriotic celebrations around a trip to Birmingham for Thunder on the Mountain.
For more than 15 years, our Birmingham 4th of July has been distinguished with an exquisite fireworks display (“Thunder on the Mountain”) unrivaled by any other. For more than 20 minutes, celebrants are treated to an onslaught of sparkling colors, dazzling patterns and breathtaking effects, all set to popular and patriotic music. Every year the soundtrack is different, and the fireworks are arranged in synch with it.
The display is centered under Birmingham’s iconic statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. Not only is Vulcan the largest cast-iron statue in the world, but he is also considered one of the United States’ most significant works of civic art. The 50-ton, 56-foot fire god was designed by Italian-born sculptor Giuseppe Moretti to serve as Birmingham’s entry for the 1904 World’s Fair. It has stood sentinel on Red Mountain since the 1930s, symbolizing Birmingham’s roots in the iron and steel industry.
Today, the four-acre park that sprawls out below Vulcan’s gaze makes a perfect arena to lie back and enjoy the patriotic spectacle. Even those who make the pilgrimage every year to this Birmingham 4th of July tradition still get chills when the starry bursts begin.
Thunder on the Mountain is spearheaded by Deborah Neu of Pyro Productions. The daughter of legendary fireworks mogul “Crazy Bill” Cairns, Ms. Neu has taken her father’s legacy to a new level. Her company is known as the most advanced fireworks display company in the southeast, running an average of 170 fireworks shows per year around the entire state of Alabama. (Parents will breathe a sigh of relief that they consistently maintain a 100%.) Every show is custom-designed by Ms. Neu and her team, who choreograph the fireworks around a unique soundtrack and voiceover created in partnership with the Vulcan Park Foundation.
This year’s festivities will take place on Monday, July 4 at 9pm. Visitors are encouraged to share their best photos and videos of the event on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #VulcanFireworks.
We look forward to celebrating with our community and visitors from all over the great state of Alabama during this Birmingham 4th of July tradition.