One of the big events that comes to town every year is the Celebration of Light. The vibe at this event is over the top! People love it.
The waterfront is jammed from the Burrard Bridge to the Sylvia hotel along English Bay. People living in the area have their balconies packed with friends and family. Fireworks fans pack the North side of Burrard Bridge and take over Kits Point. Vancouver’s yachting fraternity gets in position from dinner onwards.
It’s a civic party and those who don’t live in the area get there early to have dinner on the grass and jam the restaurants. People are happy and looking forward to the firework displays that take over three nights between teams from three countries. Yes, some of the NIMBYS have complained about the volume of people that descend on their neighbourhood. But hey, you wanted to live by the beach. So what comes with living at the beach? That’s right: people. And they come from everywhere. To Kitsilano Beach, to Spanish Banks. Jericho Beach and yes, English Bay. And three nights in one week the city puts on a world-class fireworks show. Free for the public, unless you want grandstand seats over the famous English Bay bathhouses. And they are packed every night of the Celebration of Light. Sold out.
What do you think of when you hear the word “fireworks”? Correct - lots of pretty colours and a lot of noise. The crowds at this event cheer explosions as much as they cheer the beautiful patterns in the air.
But as usual in our city, we have a small fringe group that worries about how the fireworks impact dogs and other animals, as well as those who suffer from PTSD. I want to remind you that the Celebration of Light does not sneak up on the citizens of No Fun City. Tickets are on sale now for the event that takes place this year, during the week of July 22-29.
So you’ve been warned! Now shut up! There is also a coterie of techy people who want to replace the noisy fireworks with new technology: drones. Boy, that’s exciting. Will people flock to see silent fireworks shows? I doubt it. Where’s the meat?
Cities have tried and reverted back to fireworks at various celebrations. No booms. No smoke. No fun! And let's remember that that smoke, according to an executive producer for the Celebration of Lights, emits less CO2 into the atmosphere than what comes from a single restaurant patio heater. Boy, that news should start more gnashing of teeth amongst the environmental freaks.
Vancouver has a history of getting rid of what could be called “loud events.” We used to be a stop in the Indy Car circuit. It was called the Molson Indy and ran from 1990-2004. The race sold out every year. But the whiners and criers threw enough tantrums that the city had to say goodbye to Indy cars. That was a sad day. Today we see cities like Nashville, Chicago and Baltimore with street races for Indy car or Nascar. Formula 1 has races on the streets of Monaco, Singapore, Melbourne, Montreal, and Sochi. Cities around the world are clamouring for dates. All these aforementioned city races have practice sessions, time trails and then the race day itself. And the events are at least two hours long!
The Celebration of Light for each country goes on for 25 minutes a night for three nights. 25 minutes? Those who complain about it should be ignored. C’mon people! The Celebration of Light is a great three nights in Vancouver in the Summertime. We can’t let the “fun police” get another foothold here.
Bruce Allen is a music manager and commentator.