National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico

1 Thomas Prior

Every year 100,000 people gather in Tultepec, Mexico to experience the nine day National Pyrotechnic Festival. Like most festivals, food, rides, music, and dancing are involved, but the biggest thrills are the amazing fireworks displays. Tultepec is the largest producer of fireworks in all of Mexico and Pyrotechnicians come to compete in contests that choreograph fireworks with music. There are also “castillos” (castles) contests, which involve building wooden structures with reed and paper that with proper firework placement and design, give a 30 minute unique light sequence for all to enjoy. But the main event is the “pamplonas” (Running of the Bulls) in which roughly 250 moving bull-shaped wooden frames with up to 4,000 fireworks on them, run the streets with explosive trails following them everywhere they go, lasting 7 hours.


The National Pyrotechnic Festival is quite a sight to see, but until now photographs did not do it justice. New York-based photographer Thomas Prior changed that when he traveled to the event with his camera in tow. Here is a small selection of his Tultepec photo series. Be sure to check out the rest on his website. Through his photos, Prior shows that this festival looks as dangerous as it sounds, but what an amazing experience it must be!

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