DALLAS TWP. — Mention the word “fireworks” around Paul Adamchick and his eyes light up.
Fireworks are a passion for Adamchick, commonly known in the Back Mountain as Pizza Paul because of his family’s Kingston Township business, Pizza Perfect.
The 47-year-old has a reputation of having held jaw-dropping Fourth of July displays at Back Mountain Harvest Assembly Church in Trucksville and Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre. But the fun ended two years ago when he organized his last large community-wide fireworks display at the Luzerne County Fairgrounds in Lehman Township.
“It was a pyrotechnic musical,” said Bob Dennis, Adamchick’s fireworks display assistant, referencing the Luzerne County Fairgrounds array. “It was the largest fireworks display I was ever involved in.”
The demise of the event was two-fold.
Funding the large fireworks displays and traffic bottlenecks on area roadways caused the Kingston Township native to burn out.
“The first two years at Back Mountain Harvest Assembly cost me about $20,000 (each year),” he said. “I could not keep it going. Then, the church funded the display.”
Adamchick continued to hold the mid-summer event at the Back Mountain Harvest Assembly for about six or seven years.
But the annual fireworks display in the Back Mountain caused problems. The two-lane roads were not equipped to handle the volume of spectators attracted to the area. Complaints from nearby residents about noise and traffic congestion forced him to look for another venue.
During the same time frame, Adamchick’s skills were sought by the City of Wilkes-Barre for its annual Fourth of July celebration in Kirby Park.
“I did the fireworks at Kirby Park for three years, 2010, 2011 and 2012,” Adamchick said. “That was an item on my bucket list.”
Wilkes-Barre City funded the event, but Adamchick often invested up to $10,000 of his money into the display.
“It is my way to give back to the community,” Adamchick said about organizing the Wilkes-Barre display. “I want to make people forget all their problems for about 15 minutes.”
Adamchick did not return to organize the city’s display again. He began working to establish his own business, Pizza Paul’s Fireworks, in which he sells pyrotechnics and can be hired to organize smaller displays.
In 2014, Adamchick hosted his last free public fireworks display at the Luzerne County Fairgrounds in Dallas Township He booked the entire facility for the weekend and paid for licensing fees, fireworks and related materials.
The 28-minute firework display took days to set up, Dennis said. “We choreographed music and fireworks.”
“It was a complicated display,” Adamchick said.
The large-scale event became his last.
“The traffic backed up to the center of Dallas,” Adamchick said.
“The fairground was filled to capacity,” Dennis said.
Adamchick turned his focus on his pyrotechnic retail business called Pizza Paul’s Fireworks at 56 Dorchester Drive, in Dallas. He does organize smaller firework displays for weddings, anniversaries, graduations and other family-related events.
“I love fireworks,” he added. “I will celebrate with fireworks until the day I die.”