Fourth of July

Missing Big Bay Boom? Look Back at 2012 Blowout

It may have been the biggest boom of them all.

NBCUniversal, Inc.

The Big Bay Boom took a big, big break amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and with the Fourth of July staple canceled for San Diegans, let’s instead take a look back at another strange year for the firework show: the catastrophic 2012 glitch.

It may have been the biggest boom of them all.

Thousands of people gathered in downtown San Diego for what was supposed to be an average Independence Day celebration. The fireworks – which took months of planning – were ready to go off at 9 p.m. in honor of America’s birthday.

But five minutes before the show, a computer glitch changed the entire night.

A sudden burst of hundreds of fireworks shot into the air -- all at once -- over the bay, sending a large rumble throughout downtown. It was a spectacular failure, and the explosions created a massive light mushroom in the night sky.

Then, the flashes stopped.

The 15-minute show lasted about 15 seconds.

Fireworks Mishap Big Bay Boom 2012: Your Pics

The guests, excited for the show, were understandably confused, and about 25 minutes later, a radio announcement told them the show was over – there were no fireworks left.

“We apologize to all the residents and all the people who missed their fireworks,” Garden State Fireworks co-owner August Santore said. He said the company took “100 percent responsibility” for the computer glitch that set the show off early – and all at once.

No injuries were reported from the short-lived but massive show.

The Big Bay Boom first began in 2001, according to its website.

In early May, the Port of San Diego canceled the Big Bay Boom for 2020 due to COVID-19. It offered a planned TV special instead. To learn more about the virtual celebrations for Independence Day, click here.

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