Up to 40,000 New Year's Eve revelers are expected to turn their eyes up to crisp, clear skies in Old Sacramento to welcome in 2013 with a bang.
And Jordan Hunter and his crew were working Sunday to make sure the event is an explosive one.
Hunter, a licensed pyro-technician, arrived at a West Sacramento parking lot in the pre-dawn hours, building the racks and positioning the guns that will shoot 6,000 aerial shells to light up the skies above Sacramento's waterfront Monday night.
For the 13th straight year, two free fireworks displays will burst over Old Sacramento, at 9 p.m. and midnight, on New Year's Eve. The earlier, 11-minute show, tailored to the younger set, will be choreographed to pop music and family-friendly tunes, including a tribute to singer Taylor Swift.
The main event - midnight's "sky concert" -- will be a 16-minute show scripted to classic rock like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin and Queen. In the second display, about 1,000 shells will be rocketed from Tower Bridge.
Other entertainment at the New Year's Eve Sky Spectacular will include live music and fire juggling.
Hunter and his crew of nine workers, including his father, hammered together racks and tilted tubes at various angles. The tubes will hold the assembled fireworks shells.
Hunter, owner of Fireworks and Stages FX America in Tracy, designs and choreographs the show. He uses a computer, a data table and internal clocks to set off the blasts at the correct times. The shells range from 2-inch to 6-inch shells, and will explode in a rainbow of colors.
Hunter, also a Mendota police officer, said his father Richard Hunter, started dabbling in pyrotechnics about 35 years ago, "so I was born into it." He admits he "experimented" with fireworks as a kid.
Now, he sets off fireworks for weddings, high school football games and other community events throughout California.
He said viewers at Sacramento's New Year Eve display will see red peonies, blue chrysanthemums and purple dahlias, along with some smiley faces, double hearts and solid circles of sparkling light.
"My favorite is a nishiki kamuro," Hunter said. "It has a big break, fills the sky and has a long burning time. We have a gold one in this show."
For more information about the Sky Spectacular, call the bureau at (916) 808-7777, or go to www.nyesacramento.com.