Fire Up the Cliffs celebration

Photo by Mike Wilson | Ken Wilkinson, owner of Fire in the Sky, offers viewers special surprises throughout his choreographed show. Among the special treats are a 16 inch firework, the largest commercially available. Wilkinson also makes his own fire balls from gasoline and a black powder charge. He estimates the fireballs shoot 150 feet in the air.

Ken Wilkinson, owner of “Fire in the Sky,” has presented the fireworks show which has delighted Kremmling residents and guests for nearly a decade and will return this year, amidst the pandemic. The fireworks display Town residents have come to expect off the cliffs will be much the same, punctuated with custom-made fireballs, 16 inch mortars and more. COVID 19 restrictions will be felt in the heart of the Town where music bands and those celebrating the 4th usually gather in the Town Square. There will be no festivities in the park.

Town Manager, Dan Stoltman, “We are very excited to have the fireworks as normal under the circumstances as possible.” He encourages everyone to stay in
their vehicles or view from home, if they can, and of course, to practice safe distancing and wear masks. Fortunately, Kremmling offers great views of the fireworks from many vantage points in Town, including the school parking lots and the Kremmling Mercantile parking lot.

Wilkinson spends months choreographing the show that extends 1600 feet across the top of cliffs and can easily be viewed across Town. He plans the display with fireworks 3 to 12 inches in diameter. The 3-inch ones fill in the space closer to the ground and the 12-inch ones are the magnificent powerful ones that shoot up in the sky. The show will once again feature a 16-inch firework, the largest firework available commercially.
The 17 minute show begins about 9:45 p.m. after the sun has completely set and the cliffs are dark.

Wilkinson began shooting off fireworks as a volunteer fireman, but the Kremmling Fire Protection District (KFPD) began to worry about the risks of having the majority of their volunteer firefighters on the cliffs if there were a fire call, which had actually happened in years past. With this in mind, the KFPD reluctantly decided to step-down from their traditional role in the fireworks display.

“I was sad to see the fire department quit doing it,” said Wilkinson. He had been involved in the fireworks show for the previous 16 years, with fellow firefighter
Jim Carland initially leading the firework display. “Jim Carland got me interested and, when he stepped down, I took over.”

It was just a natural step then, and Wilkinson was a natural fit for the job. Thus his company “Fire in the Sky” was born. Now Wilkinson’s focus is on creating a spectacular show. He holds both state and federal licenses for his business. The federal license allows him to store and buy fireworks and the state license allows him to display and operate fireworks.

In addition to the Kremmling firework display, Wilkinson is booked for the July 4 firework display at the Flying Heels Arena firework display in Granby. He credits strong family support for being able to do events in both Kremmling and Granby. The Kremmling show will be manned by Wilkinson, his wife Kendra, their children Andrew and Jill, and Jill’s fiance, Kyle Lewis. The Granby crew will be Wilkinson’s brother, Ron Wilkinson, his brother-in-law Greg Thorne and nephews, Jonathan and Caleb.

Wilkinson can be booked for weddings, special events and celebrations by calling 970-406-1083.