SPOKANE, Wash. -

Long before the balloon parade down Spokane Falls Boulevard, a lot of hard work goes into making First Night fun for both kids and adults.

Rich Vaughan is in charge of clock tower fireworks and even uses pyrotechnics to start the first night bonfire.

"We just run a little wire and we have some special stuff that we do. When they do the countdown, the fire starts magically," Vaughan explained.

Meanwhile Dennis Fitzgerald and his family are staying as far away as possible from the bonfire. They were in charge of creating an incredible ice sculpture that easily weighs more than a thousand pounds.

"We take a bunch of different blocks and we sculpt them and design them so they all stack up," Fitzgerald said. "It's not really a problem in the winter when it's this cold."

Between the fire and ice and hundreds of people partying it up, there can also be medical emergencies. That's why paramedics roam the festival carrying everything short of an actual emergency room on their backs.

"From minor traumas to broken bones, we have some medications, we can run a full cardiac arrest, we have a defibrillator, IV stuff, intubation equipment - we're pretty much self-contained," said Paul Peterson with the Spokane Fire Department.

Spokane Police were also on the prowl Tuesday night, with 16 of them assigned specifically to keeping an eye on First Night activities. For big events the department calls on its reserve officers and they give up their nights and holidays with their families to work for us for free.