The History of Big Bang Boom

The year was 1976 – Nebraska’s own Gerald Ford was president as our country celebrated 200 years, the first fireworks at Skyview Lake happened under the direction of Orville Carlisle and Doug Zastrow.  These two pyrotechnicians road-tripped to South Dakota and brought back fireworks to commemorate the country’s bicentennial on a $1500 budget.  In those days fireworks were not the technological phenomenon that you view today…each effect was shot separately with a hand-held flare…similar to what you’re about to view.

Flash forward to the mid-80’s.  The Norfolk Jaycees are now the sponsor of the annual fireworks show at Skyview Lake.  From 1984 to 1989 this community group commissioned a regional fireworks organization to produce the pyrotechnics show taking it to a new zone.

And now we jump ahead to the 90’s –  The Norfolk Jaycees partnered with a corporate sponsor and brought in a national company to create the local fireworks show.  The Grucci Family from New York was commissioned to do the first electrically fired show choreographed to the musical score that was aired on a local radio station.

With a new century on the horizon, Big Bang Boom Incorporated was formed in 1999 to coordinate the efforts of Norfolk’s fireworks display.  This non-profit organization was made up of community members interested in preserving the fireworks tradition at Skyview Lake. 

In the year 2003- following a nationwide search, Big Bang Boom partnered with J&M Display out of Yarmouth, Iowa to bring a digitally fired synchronized fireworks program to Northeast Nebraska that could be heard on all of Norfolk’s FM radio stations.  J&M Displays also provided the technology that allowed for the addition of Big Bang Boom’s now signature “fireballs” to increase the intensity of the annual show.

And now we jump forward to today the 45th anniversary of Big Bang Boom, now known as Boomfest. In 2021, we introduce the inaugral 2-day festival. The weekend will kick off Friday night with a Wing Fest competition coordinated by the Stanton Ribfest organizers.  Norfolk Area Rod and Custom sponsoring a Car Show N Shine. Live music will take the stage with up-and-coming country artist Luke Hupp, followed by the much-anticipated Smoke Ring Reunion Show, sponsored by The New 94 Rock.   Saturday, BoomFest will once again include an inflatable midway, military static displays, food vendors, music and the largest, most spectacular fireworks display in Northeast Nebraska to end the night.

Big Bang Boom has added a speaker system throughout the park to broadcast the synchronized music, but we also encourage you to bring your Big Bang Boom Box (portable radio) to listen to your favorite station carrying the fireworks music…The New 94 Rock, US92, 106 Kix, Lite Rock 97.5.