The Honda Celebration of Light fireworks in English Bay kick off their 2012 season this Saturday, July 28th with a display from Vietnam. I headed out on the annual media tour of the barges this morning, something I have been fortunate enough to experience for the last few years (2010, 2011), to learn more about the setup for an event of this magnitude.
One major difference, or should I say two major differences, this year are the barges. They’re all-new thanks to Seaspan and have much more room to navigate on deck. They are also attached to pilings that have been drilled down into the water as opposed to being anchored. “It’s a step up for us,” said Pyrotechnic Producer Patrick Brault who told our group that this allows them to more in place and offers a wider view of the show for the audience — without all that swaying and shifting with the waves.
“It’s a better sandbox to play in,” he added playing on the fact that we were surrounded by 350 tonnes of sand into which the pyrotechnics get loaded.
A lot of work goes into producing the world’s largest offshore fireworks competition and the team from Vietnam has been on the barges since Wednesday. When they’re all done, the “Night Crew” comes in and resets the entire barge for the next participating country. Patrick said the crew waits about 30 minutes after the fireworks have ended to make sure there are no sparks leftover. Then, they’ll check every mortar, clear everything out of the sand, and make a “clean slate” for the next crew.
This will be Vietnam’s first year competing in the Honda Celebration of Light in Vancouver and they’re first fireworks competition in North America. Organizers decided to go with 3 countries that represent 3 continents this year — with Brazil August 1st and Italy August 4th. We’ve seen a lot from Canada, Spain, and China over the years so producers thought they would branch out and Patrick said they hope to have 9 different countries participate over the next 3 years at least.
Download the Honda Celebration of Light iPhone and Android mobile app for schedules, accompanying music (no connection needed to sync up), and to vote for your favourite country. The fireworks start promptly at 10:00pm each night.
Remember to tag any photos you are posting (to Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Flickr) with #Fireworks604 to enter my contest to win a $25 gift card from Cactus Club Cafe or the grand prize, Keg Lounge tickets for Italy on August 4th valued at $400.