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A newcomer for both the Honda Celebration of Light and the international fireworks competition circuit will kick off Vancouver’s 29th annual fireworks competition this Saturday night.
In fact, Mumbai-based Amir Morani Fireworks (AMF) is representing India for the first time in any fireworks competition ever.
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Depending on the design and size and calibre, each of the three fireworks shows this year will feature between 2,500 and 4,000 shells per show, reaching heights of between 200 ft and 1,000 ft. These shows also typically include hundreds of mortars and single shots, and AMF’s design will be no exception.
Azan Morani, creative director and owner of Amir Morani Fireworks, says he has been working intensely on this show everyday for the past two months. The show incorporates the theme of love, and while his team is in it to win the competition, the ultimate goal is to “win people’s hearts” and “set the bar very high” given that this is the country’s first fireworks competition.
“It’s basically a song and a story that we’re trying to give out through our music and our fireworks,” said Morani when asked to describe the theme of the show. “It has an emotional touch to it, and there’s a little bit of music for everyone and for all ages,” including both Indian and English songs — even some Coldplay.
In India, AMF is a very big deal in the country’s fireworks industry; it is responsible for all of the big fireworks shows, including international events held in the country — the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup.
Morani says his company’s social media accounts have been inundated with messages of advice and support from well-wishers back home.
AMF has a team of five people in Vancouver working in conjunction with the crew of over a dozen staff with Archangel Fireworks, the Winnipeg-based company that is contracted every year by event producer Brand Live to handle the logistics, staging, and setup of the fireworks competition.
“Our job is to make sure that whatever the country has decided to shoot, they either tell me to import for them or I determine that we can’t export from their country, like with India. We carry a lot of similar products that they request,” said Kelly Guille, the president of of Archangel.
“We do limit the amount of equipment offered to competitors, but there are special considerations. We do try to cater to that country’s way of doing things to a certain limit.”
The fireworks teams are confirmed early in the year — or as early as possible — and the fireworks, based on the created show design, are usually ordered at least three months before the competition week.
“If they are having a factory in China preparing for a company in Spain, they also need the factory to take the time to produce those items to assemble and ship,” explained Guille.
“We always want to know as soon as possible on who the teams will be, who the countries will be, vet the teams, talk to other fireworks producers and places that can vouch on their experience, We don’t just bring any team to Vancouver and have a fireworks competition. We need to know they are capable of producing a show like this.”
During every show, a small team of about four people will be positioned inside a protective lumber shed, located on a far end of the barge, with one-inch-thick plexiglass windows, to monitor the status of the show. With the flip of a switch, computers inside the shed will automatically ignite the pyrotechnic sequences.
Following India’s display, the next shows are scheduled for Wednesday, July 31 (Firemaster Productions, representing Canada) and Saturday, August 3 (Mirnovec Fireworks, representing Croatia).
All 25-minute fireworks shows at English Bay start promptly at 10 pm, rain or shine. The forecast for Saturday, July 27 calls for clear skies and a temperature of 18°C by the time the show begins. Those watching from the beach areas should be wary of rising tides throughout the evening.
Schedule and nations:
- Saturday, July 27: India represented by Amir Morani Fireworks
- Wednesday, July 31: Canada, represented by Firemaster Productions Inc.
- Saturday, August 3: Croatia, represented by Mirnovec Fireworks
Time: 10 pm to 10:25 pm (25-minute duration each night). Rain or shine. Music simulcast on radio station Z 95.3 FM.
Location: English Bay, Vancouver
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