It’s the event the Vancouver’s been waiting for. Every summer, the annual Celebration of Light fireworks showdown lights up the night sky over the waters of English Bay. 400,000+ eager spectators gather along city shorelines, craning their necks and gazing in wonder at the sensational pyrotechnics.
Celebration of Light is the world’s largest offshore fireworks competition. In 2012, three international teams – Vietnam, Brazil and Italy – vie for best fireworks performance. Vietnam starts things off at 10pm Saturday, July 28. Brazil and Italy will have their chance to make jaws drop on August 1, and August 4, respectively.
Like Christmas, the event build-up to each Celebration of Light performance is as festive as the actual fireworks. Fans gather at various hotspots around Vancouver for free live music, street food, vendor villages, restaurant events and more, transforming the city into a party.
Find out more about Celebration of Light events, and where to watch the 2012 Celebration of Light fireworks after the jump.
About Vancouver Celebration of Light Fireworks
This year, Vietnam, Brazil and Italy are competing for best fireworks over three days: July 28, August 1, and August 4. The fireworks shows are free and kick off at 10:00pm sharp. Each show lasts 25 minutes and is set to a soundtrack broadcasted by SHORE 104 and 104.3 FM.
How do they pick the Celebration of Light winner?
There’s a new judging format this year that allows judges and spectators to have a say. Judges will take a look at concept, colour, originality, quality and music selection. The Celebration of Light organizers want to hear what spectators think too and are urging fans to visit the Celebration of Light website and vote for a winner.
About SHOREfest Celebration of Light Pre-Fireworks Concerts
As a build up to the Celebration of Light fireworks, SHORE 104 is hosting SHOREfest: free live music concerts from 2pm onwards at Sunset Beach, and from 7:30pm at English Bay on July 28, August 1, and August 4.
The band line-up features Canadian favourites The Breakmen, Joel Plaskett, Said The Whale, The Trews, and more. To find out more about when you want to spread out that picnic blanket, check out the full list of SHOREfest show times here.
Where to Watch Vancouver Celebration of Light Fireworks
Die-hard fans and those who like a sure thing can book Celebration of Light bleacher seats ($59) in the YVR Observation Deck at English Bay Beach. Alternatively, join the Keg Lounge waterfront party (tix $200) which offers prime views, drinks and appies, valet and VIP seats.
DIYers have several viewing options. No matter which spot you choose, it’s best to arrive early and to use public transportation. Additional Skytrain, Canada Line, and bus service will be put into place to help with the large volume of transit users on event nights.
The most popular public viewing spot is English Bay Beach, which attracts thousands and has added bonuses: food carts and public loos. If it’s too crowded, continue into Stanley Park and pick a spot along the seawall facing the English Bay.
Sunset Beach is another excellent viewing locale and home to a SHOREfest stage with live music starting at 2pm, a volleyball tournament and cultural performances.
The Burrard Bridge is a convenient spot to take in the brilliance, although it’s not picnic blanket friendly. Across the bridge, Vanier Park and adjacent Kitsilano Beach offer lush grass, slightly less competition and an excellent vantage point for seeing the show.
On the North Shore, West Vancouver’s Dundarave Pier is a traditional fireworks-watching fave.
A lucky few will have the chance to watch the fireworks from a boat, directly underneath the light show. In addition to the one-of a-kind view of pyrotechnics, boats offer a stunning view of the crowds swarming the shore. Pride of Vancouver Charters offers a Celebration of Light tour, as does Accent Cruises. Harbour Cruises hosts two types of Fireworks Cruises: Dinner ($110 +5% gratuity and 12% HST) and Casual ($68 + 12% HST) .
Where will you watch the 2012 Vancouver Celebration of Light? Help out by commenting below.