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State Fair drone show finally takes flight with fireworks — and a few hiccups

See drones fall from sky during State Fair light show debut

After weeks of anticipation, the Drone Light Show was launched prior to fireworks, Friday, July 26, 2019, at the California State Fair but not without a few hitches as several drones fell from formation.
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After weeks of anticipation, the Drone Light Show was launched prior to fireworks, Friday, July 26, 2019, at the California State Fair but not without a few hitches as several drones fell from formation.

After two weeks of false starts, the California State Fair’s drone light show didn’t exactly fall flat — but it did fall.

As a fleet of drones flew around the night sky over Cal Expo on Friday night, forming shapes such as a bear and California’s outline, a few fell down to earth. Accompanying California-themed music also did not play at an audible volume, CBS13 reported.

When the GPS signal in Great Lakes Drone Co.’s drones starts to fail, the operator remotely pulls the devices down from the sky to avoid a crash, said fair deputy general manager Margaret Mohr. Four drones came down in total Friday night, Mohr said.

Fireworks also kicked off midway through the drone show, a curious decision give that the State Fair had advertised the show as an environmentally safe, more inclusive alternative free of loud booms and smoke.

Drone shows were canceled during the State Fair’s two previous weekends due to Great Lakes Drone Co.’s software issues. Fireworks were brought in as replacements on both weekends.

The drones and fireworks will be back Saturday and Sunday nights, with Saturday’s show kicking off at 9:45 p.m. at the Miller Lite Racetrack Grandstand.

Great Lakes Drone Co. drones previously took to the skies for fairs in the company’s home state of Michigan as well as New York. The state fair’s drone show was inspired by a similar one last summer at Intel’s Folsom campus, though that featured 2,000 drones to the fair’s 50.

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Benjy Egel covers local restaurants and bars for The Sacramento Bee as well as general breaking news and investigative projects. A Sacramento native, he previously covered business for the Amarillo Globe-News in Texas.
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