An inky black sky on a still winter night proved the perfect backdrop Tuesday evening in Omaha for the explosion of fireworks that bade farewell to the old and hello to the new.

Some 1,200 shells in 40 to 80 combinations wowed the crowd that gathered in parking lots, along sidewalks and atop downtown buildings for the New Year’s Eve show.

While the show could be seen from both sides of the Missouri River, those who trekked to the epicenter, near the CHI Health Center and TD Ameritrade Park, also heard the boom-ba-boom as the fireworks reverberated and echoed against surrounding buildings.

“It was one of the best fireworks shows I’ve ever seen,” said 9-year-old Camden Pearson of Kennard, Nebraska, who came with his parents and sister, Kaitlyn. He would “definitely” like to come back next year, he said, not just for the fireworks, but for the nearby ice skating that is part of the Holiday Lights Festival.

The annual fireworks display took place in perfect conditions, a cold, clear, nearly windless night. Winter’s lack of humidity allowed the colors to pop more vividly. A light wind carried spidery wisps of smoke away to the east. Last year’s show was delayed because of high winds.

People came from around the region for a mix of reasons.

Libby Schere and two friends drove in from Fremont, drawn by the opportunity to do something fun and different — and free.

“This is exciting,” she said. “It’s fun that they do something like this for the community.”

Anyia Watson and Zion Seymour of Omaha attended the show for the first time on the recommendation of his grandmother.

“It’s pretty cool,” he said. They liked the colors and the “boom,” they said, plus the chance for a safe time out.

The fireworks were shot off from Lot D of the CHI Health Center, having been moved there because of renovations at Gene Leahy Mall. The relocation is temporary, city officials say.

The show, which lasted about 13 minutes, was sponsored by Wells Fargo and produced by J&M displays. It is part of the Holiday Lights Festival, which runs through Sunday.

Nancy Gaarder helps cover public safety and weather events as an editor on The World-Herald's breaking news desk. Follow her on Twitter @gaarder. Phone: 402-444-1102.

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