Up in the stands of Ryan Field, fans rise from their seats and crane their necks toward the endzone. An anticipatory hush washes over the stadium as all peer into the empty tunnel—waiting for the Wildcats to emerge. With military precision, the marching band snaps their instruments to attention. The drum core rolls off a cadence and triumphant fanfare blares from their neat columns. As if sprung from a trap, the Northwestern football team emerges draped in regal purple uniforms, streaming into the sunlight like a legion of returning conquerors. Plumes of pyrotechnic smoke erupt from the flanking structures and beneath the principal arch emblazoned with the university’s letterhead. The runout of the team is the ritual and rite of college football—a celebratory act before the game has even commenced. To produce this exuberant introduction, Northwestern University enlisted the expertise of the Britten metal fab team and Pyrotecnico Fireworks Inc to construct several dynamic set pieces worthy of a Wildcat game day entrance!
In order to create the enveloping shroud of special effects the Britten metal fabrication team (part of BoxPop®) needed to create three main structures—two lower units to flank the entrance and an adjustable archway that players would run under. The two lower units were to be identical 20-foot stands, fabricated from aluminum and topped with a 4.75’ foot arch. Each stand would be supported by 3 reinforced legs capped with heavy-duty casters for easy maneuverability. The finished frames were covered in 3mm Diabond material, branded in uniform Northwestern purple. Next was the pinnacle feature—the main archway. The metal fab team constructed a 16-foot bowed arch, mounted to telescoping legs that could extend to a height of 16 feet. This arch was supported by twin bases, covered in Northwestern branded 3mm Diabond and also mounted to casters for portability. Finally, the face of the arch was plated with plasma cut steel, proudly emblazed with “Northwestern” in the scholarly university typeface. Once completed, these frames were handed over to the care of the skilled crew from Pyrotecnico Fireworks Inc who set to installing the special effects equipment within the elements.
The final product was an impressive, maneuverable trio of entranceway pieces. Branded in Northwestern hues and script and primed to produce plumes of enveloping fog, it was the ideal ensemble to make a grand gameday entrance!