A Hudson Valley man who is responsible for mysterious black rings that have been seen overhead has died.

Those who live in the northern Dutchess County area may remember a terrifying sight that suddenly appeared overhead three years ago. A black ring hovered over Rhinebeck, Redhook and Hyde Park for an unusually long time. Photos of the anomaly were shared on social media from residents as far away as Kingston and Poughkeepsie, causing many to speculate on its source.

Some people thought the ring was a choreographed flock of birds while others theorized that it could be some sort of military test.

It turns out that the giant ring was just the work of Frank Coluccio.


Giant Smoke Ring Explained

After days of questions from local residents, the mystery was finally explained by staff at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. A giant smoke ring was produced from an explosion at the end of an air show. The giant pyrotechnic was set off by Frank Coluccio, who would create a giant mushroom explosion as a part of the show's storyline.

Coluccio wasn't new to explosives. In 1981, the Navy vet took over as president of Legion Fireworks. The company was founded in 1920 by Joseph Chiarella who, according to the company, built each shell in the traditional Italian fireworks style.

Facebook/Frank M. Coluccio
Facebook/Frank M. Coluccio

Coluccio's work could be seen year-round at patriotic holidays, sporting events and private celebrations. The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome officially announced Coluccio's death on Wednesday.


With great sadness we announce the passing of Frank Coluccio. Frank has been our pyro expert for decades. He owned Legion Fireworks and so loved the Aerodrome that, after dealing with fireworks all week, he gave up his Sundays to blow up the Black Baron. Doing so, he once created a monster smoke ring that wandered the Hudson Valley and went viral on social media. We've lost a dear friend and colleague. Light 'em, up there, Frank!

Many residents expressed their sadness over hearing the news, and recalled being dazzled by his fireworks. Besides reminiscing about that giant smoke ring, colleagues and community members recalled his service to the Hudson Valley as a member of the Wappingers Falls Rotary and The Dutchess Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Details about services for Coluccio have not yet been announced.

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