We moved to the Atlanta suburbs in March of 2003. When July 4th rolled around that first year, we naively thought we would just take the short, 10-minute drive to Stone Mountain to catch the fireworks.
As it turned out, 20,000 other Atlantans had the same idea. The place was packed. We didn’t even get to the gate before turning around and making a mental note to avoid Stone Mountain on any and all holidays, particularly the Fourth.
In 1983, when Stone Mountain first started its laser show, laser technology was fresh and new. Lasers were blowing up death stars and stormtroopers on the big screen and beginning to find their way into Disney parades and sports venues. It only made sense that lasers would augment a fireworks display with colorful animations unleashing emotions in us we never thought possible. Who could have imagined you could draw the devil running from a monster truck on the side of a mountain with a green beam of light?
Now that lasers are so commonplace that we use them to blast our stones, both gall and kidney, and repair our vision, they evidently aren’t impressive enough to carry the whole show any more. The lasers needed some super-charging, so the folks at Stone Mountain Park have spent $1 million updating their fireworks and laser show to include digital, 3-D projection in their new Lasershow Spectacular in Mountainvision.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution described the effect of this newly revamped laser spectacle as turning the mountainside “into the equivalent of a 5,500-inch high-definition TV screen.” I’ve not seen the new show, which debuted Memorial Day Weekend, but reviews indicate it has all of the elements people loved from the original show, only with more graphics and updated music. There are now 10 segments instead of nine, and the show runs a full 42 minutes.
If you are planning to take in the new Lasershow Spectacular in Mountainvision this weekend, plan to get there early, stay late and get close with 20,000 of your neighbors. The new show promises sweat and patriotism will be dripping from your pores.
I’m so glad Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis aren’t being held back by antiquated laser technology any more. They have definitely joined the New South.
Happy Independence Day!