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'Give it a chance': Drone shows will light up Colorado skies this Fourth of July

Several cities to host drone shows instead of fireworks for the holiday
Drone shows lighting up Colorado skies this Fourth of July
Posted at 8:21 AM, Jul 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-03 10:21:43-04

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Fireworks are synonymous with the Fourth of July, but a new kind of show is lighting up Colorado skies.

A handful of cities are hosting drone shows, instead of fireworks, this Fourth of July.

Thomas Dolan is the owner and operator of Brightflight Drone Shows, which is a fairly new company that organizes private drone shows. They hope to eventually produce public shows for larger audiences.

“We simulate fireworks, we put up animations, logos, names, you name it. Sky's the limit," Dolan said.

Currently, Dolan said his company has around 100 drones. They are looking to scale up to anywhere from 200 to 500 drones.

“We have fun with toys, that's what we do," Dolan said with a laugh about drones. “It gives you a view of the world that you just, you can't get.”

Dolan described the differences between drone shows and fireworks.

"I certainly don't want to sit here and say that I don't love fireworks. I love fireworks," Dolan said. “We know there are downsides to fireworks, there are risks... They are putting little missiles in the sky that blow up, and with that can come injury, fire, especially in Colorado, [that's a] huge concern. And drones offer that safe substitute.”

Dolan also said fireworks create noise pollution, along with negative impacts on the environment.

"There are byproducts that fireworks leave, there are chemicals, smoke in itself. There's no doubt about it," said Dolan.

He said drones offer solutions to some of those concerns.

“They [drones] are controllable, they're precise, they're organized. All of our shows are built with safety in mind, and you can't necessarily do that with fireworks... Another huge benefit is sustainability. You know, our drones are clean, we leave very little impact on where we land and where we take off," Dolan said.

Dolan also said the only noise associated with drone shows would be coordinated music.

“Fireworks, it's a one-shot, you know. You launch that thing in the sky and it explodes and never comes back. You know, our drones are sustainable," Dolan continued. “We'll run these drones and these batteries thousands of times.”

However, Dolan said there are limitations to drone shows, such as the cost of purchasing the drones and the battery life.

"We're anywhere from 12 to 15 minutes, is our typical drone show," said Dolan.

Plus, weather can be problematic for a drone show, according to Dolan. Still, he hopes anyone with hesitations about seeing a drone show gives it a chance.

Click here for a full list showing where Coloradans can watch either fireworks or drone shows on the Fourth of July.