On Morning Edition, NPR's Bob Edwards interviews George Zambelli Jr., whose grandfather emigrated from Italy in 1893 to start a fireworks manufacturing business now into its fourth generation.
The Zambellis have displayed fireworks at White House state dinners and other special occasions for every president since John F. Kennedy.
While computers now control the firing systems, and new geometric patterns emerge every year, Zambelli says, "the handcraftsmanship of pyrotechnics is the same as it was a couple of hundred years ago -- paper, paste, twine."
"It's a way to paint the skies," he says.
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