Thunder on the Mountain
- This article is about the fireworks display. For the motorcycle drag race, see Vulcan Bike Week.
Thunder on the Mountain is Birmingham's annual 4th of July fireworks display on Red Mountain and the largest fireworks display in Alabama. Since 2001 the show has been designed and created by Pyro Productions of Adamsville. Since the completion of renovations to Vulcan Park, it has been launched from the southwest corner of the park's upper parking lot at 9:00 P.M. The park closes at 6:00 to prepare for the show.
The 2012 show included songs by the Steve Miler Band, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Billy Ray Cyrus, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Dierks Bentley, G. Love & Special Sauce, The Temptations, Rihanna, Donna Summer and Phil Driscoll with Ray Charles, as well as a brief message from Mayor William Bell.
Facing financial shortfalls, the Vulcan Park and Museum initially asked the city of Birmingham for $10,000 to ensure that the fireworks show would be on par with previous years. However, park officials withdrew the request before the city council could vote on it, due to protests from city workers who are facing salary cuts in the 2011 City of Birmingham Budget. Park president Darlene Negrotto stated that the show would be scaled back but would go on.
Pyro promised a longer, bigger show for 2008 with a number of elaborate high-quality shells purchased from Europe and Japan, many of which had never been used in Birmingham. The show's soundtrack, broadcast on WYSF and WZRR, included the song "I'll be in Birmingham Tonight" by Kevin Derryberry and wrapped up with U2's "Beautiful Day".
Colonial Bank joined Dale's Seasoning, WBRC-TV, Big Communications and Citadel Broadcasting as sponsors.
Pyro increased the length of the production for 2007. The soundtrack, broadcast on WZRR, WYSF and WJOX, was expanded to include a wider variety of music as well as the "Voice of Vulcan". Sponsors included WBRC 6, Citadel Communications, Dale's Seasoning, Crazy Bill's Fireworks, Standard Furniture, and the Vulcan Park foundation.
Because it took place during a drought, several Birmingham Fire & Rescue engine companies were in the area of Red Mountain in the event that the shells caused a fire.
The soundtrack for the 2006 show included "Sweet Home Alabama" recorded by Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Dueling Banjos" recorded by Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandel, and "Proud to be an American" recorded by Lee Greenwood.
MyFoxAL.com held a promotional contest with the winner receiving four passes to watch the display from the Fox6 Patio. Leslie Sanderson of Fultondale won the drawing. WRAX 100.5 hosted a viewing party on the top level of the Children's Hospital Parking Deck. Live coverage was provided on WBRC.
2001 featured competing fireworks shows on Red Mountain. SkyConcert 2001, the 16th in the annual series sponsored by WZZK-FM, was held on Saturday June 30 while the inaugural Thunder on the Mountain launched on July 4. Both shows ran for 17 minutes and both used the former Baby Doe's Matchless Mine site, but Thunder on the Mountain spent three times more on shells and launched some from Vulcan Park as well.
- Reynolds, Ed (July 19, 2001) "Dueling Fireworks." Black & White
- Folsade, John (July 4, 2008) "Birmingham's Thunder on the Mountain boasts new fireworks, new effects." The Birmingham News
- Gray, Jeremy (June 24, 2010) "Lack of funds could scale back Thunder on the Mountain fireworks show." The Birmingham News
- Kennedy, Joey (June 30, 2010) "Fireworks or motorcycles -- should the Birmingham City Council fund either?" The Birmingham News
- Colurso, Mary (July 5, 2012) "Which songs sparkle at Birmingham's 'Thunder on the Mountain' fireworks show?." The Birmingham News