La Crosse Skyrockers light up Fourth of July sky

No matter what you do on the Fourth of July to celebrate, most people will end their evening watching fireworks.

The fireworks down at Riverfest in La Crosse is one of the biggest displays around.

The La Crosse Skyrockers have been lighting up the sky for more than 80 years. The organization began in 1929 during the Great Depression. On New Years Eve, 1929, 10 La Crosse residents shot fireworks off the top of Grandad’s Bluff in hopes of a good year to come.

The Skyrockers are a nonprofit group of volunteers who just like to hear cheering in between the colorful, loud explosions in the sky.

For decades the Skyrockers have been wowing the crowds sitting in Riverside Park with their Fourth of July fireworks display.

“It’s an awesome show every year,” said McKenzie Deters.

“They last a long time and they’re really nicely laid out,” said Rebekah DaFoe.

The organization’s talent has developed quite a fan base and keeps crowds coming back year after year.

“Almost every year and I’m 22, so probably 22 years,” Deters said.

“We’ve lived here for 11 years, so I want to say about 11 years,” DaFoe said.

The Independence Day fireworks spectacular is so popular groups start saving their spots in Riverside Park several hours before the sun goes down.

“I got here around 10:30 this morning,” Deters said.

“I want to say 10:30-11,” DaFoe said.

Just across the Mississippi from Riverside Park is where you’ll find the Skyrockers celebrating America’s independence. The group of volunteers is at Pettibone Park at 9 a.m. getting their fireworks display set up.

“It’s not something that any person can just go out and shoot,” said Skyrockers PR Director Jonathan Vermes. “Pyrotechnics, as you know, is kind of an art form in that you have different types of shells, different types of effects, you can time them to music, there’s all sorts of different ways that they’ve been used as a demonstration of our independence over the years, so it’s just something we enjoy doing.”

The Fourth of July happens every year, but Vermes said you’ll never see the same show twice from the Skyrockers, which is what keeps the Skyrocker fans coming back each year.

“It’s just really awesome. I’ve never seen a fireworks show like it,” said Deters.

It takes 45 to 50 Skyrockers to put on the Independence Day fireworks display.

The organization does more than just shoot off fireworks, the volunteers also educate the community about fireworks and fireworks safety.

The fireworks display will begin at 10 p.m. Saturday. The group shoots the fireworks off at Pettibone Park so the park is closed for safety reasons.