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By Lisa Hughes, WBZ-TVBy Lisa Hughes

BOSTON (CBS) — It’s a spectacular finale to Boston’s July 4 celebration, the fireworks extravaganza that blasts off from the Charles River. But accomplishing the breathtaking display takes significant planning, hard work and technology.

Related: State To Tighten Security Ahead Of July 4 Celebrations

On Wednesday, we got a behind-the-scenes look, and a preview of what’s in store.

The magic happens on the water, in a series of rusty-looking barges bobbing in the Charles.

“There’s a lot that goes into it. There’s a lot of pressure,” says chief pyrotechnician Ian MacKenzie. The intricate work that goes on here becomes the capper to Boston’s historic Independence Day celebrations.

“Wow, I hope that’s the main emphasis. I hope we show them something that they didn’t know was possible,” he added.

Parts of the fireworks equipment on the bare. (WBZ-TV)

Parts of the fireworks equipment on the barge. (WBZ-TV)

The 16-person crew is racing the weather and the clock, wiring and loading hundreds of fireworks, all to bring us a brilliant show in the sky.

“It takes a desire to be out in the elements and to endure all that goes with that to see it through. It takes a real passion for fireworks,” MacKenzie says.

The entire operation is a family-owned enterprise, started by Italian immigrants in the late 1800s. Fireworks by Grucci is now it its sixth generation of pyrotechnic artistry. And for Ian, the Boston gig is personal.

“This is a special show for me because I grew up on Cape Cod. I saw the fireworks show when I was a little kid and I took a lot of inspiration in that. So, I hope to do the same thing for future generations,” he says.

When the hard work is finished and it’s show time, computers take over, firing off the display while syncing it with the music and creating what we all look forward to every Independence Day.

“We’ve got a little bit of a surprise in the show that I don’t want to give too much away, but you’ll know it when you see it,” MacKenzie says.

Unlike last year, the weather is looking great for Saturday night, so the fireworks should be just spectacular.

Join us on WBZ-TV for the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular and check out the performances by Michael Cavanaugh, Melinda Doolittle and more. That’s Saturday starting at 8 p.m.

For more information about the July 4 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, visit our event site.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports: 

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