Fireworks to bang out three more years 0
The fireworks extravaganza will return to English Bay this summer and will stay for three years at least. (PHOTO COURTESY JESSE GITTENS, TEAM CANADA)
Vancouver's annual fireworks display is back with an even bigger bang.
The beloved Celebration of Light festival has secured funding for the next three years with a new title sponsor, officials announced Wednesday.
"I'm quite happy to know we've got it on solid ground," said John Reynolds, chairman of the Vancouver Fireworks Festival Society and a federal Tory MP. "People that want to come can plan for it and don't have to guess whether we're having it or not."
The future of the international fireworks competition has been subject to speculation in the past as contracts ended and organizers sought new sponsors for the growing event. Reynolds said the event was now secure with Honda as a title sponsor.
"It gets a little bigger every year," he said, noting the competition attracts about 400,000 spectators each night, while some $25 million in revenue is bought in to local businesses and restaurants over the course of the festival.
This year's event will feature teams from Vietnam, Brazil and Italy presenting on July 28, Aug. 1 and 4, respectively. It is the first time Vietnam will compete outside of its borders. A stunt plane will also return for the second consecutive year to entertain crowds prior to each night's big display over English Bay.
Vancouver Coun. Geoff Meggs was at the announcement to show the city's support for the large-scale downtown festival, which includes live music and entertainment.
"It's hard to believe that Celebration of Light has been going on for 22 years but reflects the fact that many, many British Columbians . take it for granted that we have this incredible event," Meggs said. "It's a rite of summer."