The Crazy Numbers Behind a Tribute to the National Anthem

The Star-Spangled Spectacular was expected to be the largest event in Maryland's history.

By Beth Kormanik September 18, 2014, 7:15 AM EDT

The fireworks program from Fireworks by Grucci used more than 98,000 pyrotechnic effects and created a patriotic image above Baltimore's Fort McHenry and Inner Harbor.

Photo: Colby Ware

Predicted to be the largest event in Maryland's history, the Star-Spangled Spectacular, a weeklong celebration of the bicentennial of the United States national anthem, concluded September 13 with simultaneous celebrations at the city's Inner Harbor and the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.

The Fort McHenry event, which drew Vice President Joe Biden and dozens of other officials, featured performances by the United States Marine Band, singer Jordin Sparks, and others, and included the raising of a 30- by 42-foot American flag. At the same time, actor John Lithgow hosted a concert at Pier Six Pavilion in the Inner Harbor that included patriotic songs performed by Melissa Etheridge, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, Little Big Town, and others. It was broadcast on PBS.

The buildup to the finale included numerous activities expected to draw more than 1.5 million visitors to the state. They included air shows featuring the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels, historical re-enactments, parades, cooking demonstrations, and a massive fireworks demonstration—all to mark the commemoration of Francis Scott Key's musical tribute to the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812.

“It's such a monumental event in the nation's history and deserves to be celebrated,” said Sam Rogers, chief marketing officer of Visiting Baltimore, in a preview with reporters.

An event this big has some impressive figures backing it up. Here's a by-the-numbers look behind the event's production.

More than 98,000 pyrotechnic effects in the fireworks program from Fireworks by Grucci

10,160 miles of event fencing and scrim

Four concert and entertainment stages

66 live concerts

Two air shows featuring the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels, along with 50 Blue Angels crew and support personnel

364 portable toilets

67 tents

1,400 volunteers

2,500 crew members

7,000 Maryland school children forming a living bicentennial flag

500 Maryland National Guard members recreating the March of the Defenders

6,875 credentials for staff, volunteers, media, and vendors

2,550 touring visitors arriving in 51 motor coaches

533 signs and banners

55 food stalls and Papa John’s pizza stands

17 generators

182 planning meetings and 16 planning committees

Sign up for the BizBash Daily - stay current with the event industry.
Your email inquiry will be sent to 3 venue