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One month after event believed to be dead in the water, Sugar House Park hosts July 4th fireworks

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Posted at 8:42 PM, Jul 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-04 23:46:54-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- One month ago it appeared as though it wasn't even going to happen, and now they are expected to be bigger and louder than ever. It's the annual Sugar House 4th of July Fireworks Display, and thousands of people have gathered at Sugar House Park in anticipation.

Chuck Johnson, owner of Vortex Fireworks, has been in charge of the show since 1996. His company does close to 100 shows a year, but by far this is his favorite.

"I grew up in Sugar House and this is the place where I fell in love with fireworks, it's just like, Christmas or the Fourth of July, which one is better?" Johnson said.

However, one month ago, this show was in jeopardy of not even happening due to lack of funding and sponsorship.

"June 4 it was over, it was not happening, the official word was it was not happening," said Scott Fletcher of the Sugar House Chamber of Commerce.

"It would be a shame not to shoot fireworks in Sugar House Park on the Fourth of July, it would be un-American," Johnson said.

Then the city, the county and the restaurant chain Apollo Burger got together and came up with the $50,000 needed to put this show on.

"The logistics that goes on with an event like this, there's permits of all different kinds with the health department, with the fire department of course, and the police, there is quite a bit that goes into a show like this," Johnson said.

Johnson and his team have been setting up since Friday morning. They will ignite 2,000 fireworks in a 30 minute span.

Johnson is an artist, and his canvas is the sky. He appreciates the opportunity to use his talents to entertain thousands of Utahns every Fourth of July.

"We do set them up in patterns and pairs and crosses just to make them a little more excited on their way up, and we'll see the stars and the smiley faces and the hearts," Johnson said.