For anyone who loves fireworks, the National Pyrotechnic Festival is a dream come true. Every year, the nine day festival is hosted by the city of Tultepec, Mexico. Along with the rides, food, and music, the event features amazing fireworks displays. Recently, New York-based photographer Thomas Prior was able to document the many visually striking light displays throughout the streets. As people shielded their faces and ran away from the dazzling sparks, Prior turned his camera towards the adventurous and slightly dangerous scenes.
People travel from all over Mexico to participate in the exciting competitions during the festival. In the castillos (castles) event, participants take 15 days to build wooden and paper structures with various fireworks attached. When set off, the displays create 30-minute choreographed shows set to music. The most important event–pamplonada–is featured in the photographs and involves a “running of the bulls”-type activity. During the five to six hours, large wooden, reed, and colorful paper mch frames with more than 4,000 fireworks attached are set off and paraded through town. As the 250 moving bulls pass by, visitors and spectators throw caution to the wind in order to experience the chaotic show exploding all around them.