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Kittanning to kick off holidays with a blast

Renatta Signorini

Blowing things up has become a business venture for a Manorville couple.

“Jared just really likes fireworks, enough that he wanted to become a professional at it,” Tiffany Kuchta said of her husband.

The Kuchtas’ business Katatumbo Fireworks will light up the night sky Friday for Kittanning’s annual holiday celebration on Market Street. The show will be best viewed over the Citizens Bridge, visible to most of Market Street, where Light Up Kittanning Night festivities will be wrapping up at about 8:30 p.m.

The pyrotechnics are being sponsored by several local businesses and are a first for the celebration.

Downtown Kittanning Inc., came up with the idea to end the night with fireworks and Katatumbo was happy to oblige, said Miranda Shoemaker, director of the tourist bureau.

“We keep adding to the program every year,” she said. “It just seemed like a way to kick off the holiday season and end the night.”

Permits, licenses and equipment are important parts of the process to legally set off fireworks, all of which Katatumbo has, said Tiffany Kuchta. After that, clients request shows based on a budget and the company creates proposals for a show and does the follow-up work — scouting a location, acquiring proper permission and marketing the show.

“We really care about your event,” she said.

There are many concerns associated with a show — safety, crowd control and potential hazards

For Friday’s show, Katatumbo will be setting off the fireworks at a certain angle from West Kittanning to avoid structures and trees. A few fireworks were fired several weeks ago from the launch site as a test, Kuchta said.

The fireworks will be set off from mortar racks built by Jared Kuchta and his father. The racks — composed mainly of aluminum and wood — are attached to electronic remote controls to avoid a “light-and-run” method, Tiffany Kuchta said.

“We’re really proud of them because they’re built a lot more solidly than anything we could find to purchase,” she said.

Four technicians, including Jared Kuchta, will work Friday’s launch site. Technicians are hired by Katatumbo on a per-job basis. Kuchta has choreographed the whole show and said he meets with the techs a few days before to iron out the show’s particulars, complete with diagrams.

“Everything is choreographed prior to the day of the show,” Tiffany Kuchta said.

But even if things get out of order, it’s OK because the misfires add to the character of the show, she said.

“Even if you plan it to happen a certain way, it doesn’t always happen that way,” she said. “Our goal is provide a consistent array of things to look at.”

The Kuchtas started the business following their 2008 wedding for which they wanted fireworks, but found them to be too costly. The event led the couple to find a spot for their own venture that caters to shows of any size, based on a budget.

“We thought that was a really good niche,” Tiffany Kuchta said.

The local company isn’t a stranger to blasting the big stuff around the county. Katatumbo had its first show just before Christmas last year in Applewold. The company has performed shockwave starts for golf outings and pyrotechnics for other private events.

Sponsors of the show include Farmers & Merchants Bank, BLX Inc, Rosebud Mining, Katatumbo Fireworks, DKI, Nolan Raraigh – State Farm Insurance, Davis Consulting, Northwest Savings Bank, Elderton State Bank, ESS Insurance, AC Properties, Paul’s Auto Parts and Snyder Associated Companies.


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