San Diego 'Big Bay Boom' fireworks show to draw up to half-million spectators

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Preparations are underway Monday for the Port of San Diego Big Bay Boom, which the Port of San Diego calls the biggest Fourth of July fireworks show in the city.

An estimated 300,000 to 500,000 spectators are expected to enjoy the annual 20-minute-long pyrotechnics show, which begins at 9 p.m. Tuesday and should be enjoyed at one of the following prime locations: 

  • Shelter Island
  • Harbor Island
  • North Embarcadero
  • Marina District
  • Coronado Ferry Landing 

Here's a tip: Use guaranteed parking to make sure there's a spot just for you on July 4. The Parking Panda app lets you scout out a spot at locations nearby the Waterfront Park from the comfort of your home and pay in advance to 100 percent guarantee your party won't miss out on this exciting event. 

After you park, take a shuttle:

  • To Shelter Island: Old Town Trolley Shuttle will provide free shuttle service from the corner of Carleton Street and Rosecrans Street in Point Loma, adjacent to West Marine. It will drop and pick up riders in front of the Gazebo on Shelter Island. Final run: 11 p.m. 
  • To Harbor Island: Goldfield Stage will provide free shuttle service from Airport Long Term Parking Lot at the corner of North Harbor Drive and Liberator Way, east of Terminal 1. Passengers will be dropped off and picked up after the show at the San Diego Harbor Police headquarters. Final run: 11 p.m. Note: Parking at airport lot off McCain Road and North Harbor Drive west of Terminal 2 will cost $12. 

Pyrotechnician Sam Bruggema from Pyro Spectaculars puts on the choreographed Big Bay Boom performance using the natural amphitheater created by San Diego Bay and Point Loma. 

"It's nothing but work. It's not fire-easy, it's fire-work." said Bruggema. "Hearing the crowd being happy and the horns and all that stuff, that's the payback. That's what makes it worth it."

Bruggema says it took him roughly 40 hours to create the 18-minute show. He says they're using a new firing system to avoid the malfunction that happened in 2012. That year, a computer glitch caused all the fireworks to go off at the same time in just 15 seconds.

The estimated economic impact of the show is $6 million in incremental sales for the area's hotels, restaurants, retails shops and tour operators, according to the event's website

Bruggema says the cost of the show is about $300,000.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Armed Services YMCA, which assists military families. 

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Sandy Coronilla is a KGTV digital producer. Follow her @10NewsSandy 

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