Every year since 1972, amateur and professional fireworks enthusiasts of all ages gather in August in Muskegon, Michigan, for the Pyrotechnic Guild International (PGI) annual convention. With an attendance in the tens of thousands, the annual event is the biggest convention of its kind in the United States.
Founded in 1969, PGI is an independent worldwide nonprofit organization of fireworks enthusiasts. Its membership is the largest pyrotechnic community in the world. The founder, Max P. Vander, was working as a publisher of a monthly fireworks newsletter when he had the idea to assemble an organization of like-minded individuals.
You must be a member of PGI to enter the convention, but the massive public displays that occur every night are open to the public for a small fee. PGI memberships can be purchased online for $50 for the first year, with a discount for subsequent years.
If you do decide to join PGI, the convention features video presentations, lectures, seminars, demonstrations of new and favorite fireworks, and more. Attendees also have the chance to show off their pyrotechnic skills in various competitions.
The convention was recently held in Muskegon, but the location often changes every year from one Michigan city to the next. One thing remains constant, though: The convention is always held somewhere with dark skies so that the nightly shows can be the best around.