Clear skies are expected for tonight’s first Honda Celebration of Light fireworks show of the year, with temperatures reaching a daytime high of 22°C and dipping slightly to 18°C by the water at 10 pm when the show begins.
Netherlands, represented by Royal Fireworks, will start off this year’s three-night competition with its theme of a ‘Journey in Time’ in music, beginning with classical music and transitioning to the modern era. According to the company’s lead fireworks’ designer, Jozef Cohen, during a tour of the fireworks barge, this will include music from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Elvis Presley, and David Guetta.
Approximately 2,000 shells will be fired for this show alone, plus 1,100 one-shots and close to 500 cakes of varying calibre. Most mortar shells range from 2.5 inches to 6 inches while a number of large shells between 8 to 10 inches, the biggest fireworks in the sky, are huddled within the central ‘garden’ area of the barges. All of the fireworks for this show are imported from China, which makes 90% of the world’s fireworks.
The fireworks are launched from a pair of 250-foot-long interconnected barges anchored in the middle of English Bay. When decoupled, the same barges are also used for the fireworks shows Canada Day at Canada Place and New Year’s Eve.
It took approximately one month for Cohen’s team in the Netherlands to design the show and create a computer animated simulation of what it would look like. Altogether, 17 people are working on setting up for the Netherlands show, including six people from Royal Fireworks and 11 people from Quebec-based Sirius Pyrotechnics – the company contracted by festival producer BrandLive to manage and deliver the fireworks portion of the event.
Each team is provided with a detailed manual on the rules and specifications of what they can do on the barge, such as the angle of firing and safety procedures. To ensure the competition is conducted on a fair playing field, teams are provided with the same budget to design a show. While each show lasts for approximately 25 minutes, teams at their discretion are permitted to stretch their show to up to 28 minutes in duration.
Each show at the Celebration of Light is launched automatically with the flip of four buttons on computers located inside a protective lumber shed, with one-inch plexiglass windows, on the far northern end of the barge. Four members in protective gear from Sirius Pyrotechnics will remain on the barge during the show to press the buttons and monitor the show’s progress to ensure public safety.
After tonight, the next shows are on Wednesday, July 27 by Howard’s Fireworks representing Australia and Saturday, July 30 by the Walt Disney Company representing USA.
Daily Hive Vancouver is a proud Media Partner of the 2016 Honda Celebration of Light