SLC set to stage July drone sky shows amid concerns about fireworks
Jun 30, 2023, 10:48 PM | Updated: 11:01 pm
SALT LAKE CITY — Instead of traditional fireworks displays, city leaders were preparing Friday to put on the first of two drone light shows this month amid concerns over fire danger and air quality.
Earlier in the week, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall voiced those concerns while announcing the decision to stage drone light show-centered events on Saturday at Jordan Park as well as on July 24 at Liberty Park.
“As temperatures rise and fire danger increases, we must be conscientious of both our air quality and the potential for wildfires,” Mendenhall said in a statement this week. “The summer holiday shows are a mainstay for Salt Lakers and we’re excited about adapting to new technology which will provide a safe alternative for our residents and visitors.”
Open Sky Drone Light Shows was hired for the event; CEO and co-founder Nate Mortensen said the show would feature a choreographed production involving 150 drones that will by synchronized to music.
His company staged a similar show Friday night in Oakley in Summit County.
“We had never seen one in Utah when we started looking,” Mortensen told KSL 5. “Now we’re flying 30, 40 drone shows here in Utah alone.”
Reaction to news of the drone light show in Salt Lake City was mixed this week between people eager to see something new and those favoring traditional fireworks shows.
Sentiment played out similarly at Liberty Park Friday evening.
“I wouldn’t say it was ever my idea to go to a fireworks show,” Bryce Vombaur said. “I’m sensitive to loud noises, I guess. I don’t know, but it’s not my favorite thing.”
Others lamented the loss in tradition.
“It seems kind of cool, it seems interesting,” Sara Thomas said of the planned drone shows. “I don’t think it’s the same though as just, like, regular fireworks. It’s not going to have the same effect.”
Mortensen said crowds that have attended his shows have always come away pleasantly surprised.
“I think it’s a great alternative because it’s still lights and sky,” Mortensen said. “People stay up all night looking for a shooting star or watching a meteor shower. And now you see 150 of those (drones) choreographed over a 10 to 12 minute show, synchronized to music. It’s magical.”