First Look: Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks

The 42nd Annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks, and the nation’s biggest Independence Day celebration, will honor America’s birthday once again live from New York City this July 4.

Our colleagues have been working tirelessly to prepare for this year’s display, which will be the largest since the Millennial Celebration.

The Fireworks are the result of a huge, cross-functional effort by a number of Macy’s teams. We spoke to one of the many people involved in planning the iconic event – Orlando Veras, director, Media Relations, about his experience, and to get a first look at what viewers should expect:

Can you tell us a bit about your history with Macy’s?

I started working with Macy’s in March, 2001 in the publicity department. Very quickly it became apparent that I was in for the ride of a lifetime, as I would have the opportunity to work on incredible, iconic events that have become part of the fabric of American pop culture. While I was creating and executing press plans for a number of initiatives across a store portfolio that ran from Maine to Florida and Puerto Rico, and as far south as Alabama, it was the iconic events – the Flower Show, Fireworks and Parade – that anchored our year.  To date, I’ve had the great fortune to work on the press efforts for 18 editions of Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks (counting this year), four special Fireworks displays celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the Statue of Liberty, and three Super Bowl shows in New York and San Francisco. Our Fireworks displays are one of my favorite things in the world!

In your own words, why are the Fireworks so iconic for Macy’s?

Macy’s Fireworks are part of the entertainment DNA of the Macy’s brand. They are iconic because Macy’s does not do anything small. We always go big! But ultimately, the event is important because the Fireworks are another example of our company’s commitment to giving back to the communities we serve. Macy’s Fireworks are the ultimate birthday party for our nation and gather millions together in celebration.

Tell us about one of your favorite memories surrounding the show.

There are so many, it’s hard to choose one. But I can tell you it’s probably what happens every year at some point during the show – when the magnitude of the event hits me and I get choked up. I’m pretty good about not crying full out, but I definitely shed a tear or two. The unique part of this event for the team that works on it is that we all experience it at the same time as the three million spectators lining the shore and the more than 12 million viewers watching at home nationwide. While we know what is going to happen, have heard the score, and know what the scenes in the sky will be, there really isn’t a practice run for the show. All 75,000 plus shells are going to ignite the New York City skyline only once, and our team is witnessing it at the same time as the public. That is when the sheer power of this celebration of our freedom really comes together for all of us.

When talking to the media, what are people most curious about? 

The most frequently asked question by the media is always about how much things cost. But as a company that believes in giving back, when you give a gift, the price tag is most certainly not included. Macy’s Fireworks are our gift to the City of New York and the nation.

This year, they are most interested in how the show comes together. It is always surprising that it takes a year to pull it off. An incredibly dedicated team in our Branded Entertainment group work to design, plan and execute every aspect of this event. From the show theme, design and score, to the logistics of throwing the nation’s biggest Independence Day celebration for three million of our closest friends in New York and millions more on television, this team works tirelessly to create the spectacle we all know and love each year.

Which element of this year’s show are you most excited about?

I’m really excited to see the portion of the show featuring the song “Sing, Sing, Sing.” The design of the Fireworks for that number are incredible, it will be a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes that we have never seen before. I’m also looking forward to Kelly Clarkson’s rendition of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” which is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year and will be the centerpiece for our signature feature in the show – the Golden Mile. I’ve heard the recording and get chills from Kelly’s powerful vocals. I can’t wait for her voice to be married to golden cascades extending a mile across the river and 1,000 feet in the air; it’s going to be a magical moment.

 

Here’s more on what you can look forward to:

 

75,000 shells and effects launched from seven barges with a patriotic sore from theWest Point Band and Glee Club, a special rendition of "God Bless America" fromKelly Clarkson, additional performances by Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, and Ricky Martin, and our very ownSnapchat filter

For the first time, Macy's has partnered with Snapchat on a Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Lens! From June 28 through July 4, you can log into Snapchat to see the special Face and World Lenses. The Face Lens lets you wear celebratory oversized star sunglasses with a Fireworks reflection. Turn the camera around and the World Lens features sparkling rockets positioned along the bottom of the frame that when launched spell out “Macy's.” Both Lenses play to the patriotic favorite, Stars and Stripes Forever recorded by the West Point Band. Additionally, there will be Macy's Fireworks Filters available from June 27 through July 4. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Lens by spotting the Fireworks icon in your Snapchat carousel the days leading up to the 4th!

Macy's Snapchat Lens Samples

Macy’s teams take celebrating seriously, and this is sure to be an experience to remember!

 

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