July 25, 2021

BLAST OFF: Newton to host 2022 pyrotechnics convention

Organizers expect more than 1,200 people to attend Iowa Speedway venue

It’s official: Newton will host a major pyrotechnics convention next year at the Iowa Speedway.

Councilman Randy Ervin received a text message near the end of the Monday night city council meeting confirming Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI) has accepted the City of Newton’s proposal to host the annual convention. Ervin held back tears when delivering the news.

“I can’t congratulate the people of Newton enough,” Ervin said, noting several city officials were involved to help make this happen. “This is something to be proud of … We’re talking about a national, international convention coming to Newton. Folks, we have a lot of things to celebrate.”

Newton Mayor Mike Hansen added, “It’s always exciting to be able to entertain new opportunities to come and take a look at our community, and also (having) it be a family-friendly experience for everybody. So very exciting news. Thanks to everybody that was involved.”

PGI was founded in 1969 and regularly hosts members-only conventions all across the United States. Conventions have been held in Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Wyoming and many other states. It has also held conventions in Iowa, such as the 1997 event in the Amana Colonies.

Ervin originally announced Newton’s potential to become a host city for the PGI convention in May, saying the event could draw close to 1,200-1,300 members and their families to town for one week and bolster $2.5-$3.5 million of economic impact to Newton and Jasper County.

A month later, the city officially submitted its proposal to PGI.

Newton touted its proximity to the Des Moines metro area and Des Moines International Airport among its selling points in the proposal. Newton is also a community whose stakeholders “welcome new events and support public entertainment opportunities.”

Particularly those targeted to families with children, the proposal stated. The public nights would offer family-friendly activities for a general admission fee. Other than those three nights, Ervin said, it is a convention for members only. Fireworks will be shot but none will be sold to the general public.

“We believe the festivities surrounding PGI’s 2022 convention are perfectly suited for our community and we are very excited to invite your members to ‘Get to Know Newton’ as we present three fabulous public pyrotechnics shows at our most renowned venue, Iowa Speedway,” the city said in its proposal.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

Christopher Braunschweig

Reporter with a strong penchant for community journalism.