Tag Archives: 2020

ST JOHN FESTIVITIES (SAO JOAO) 2020

WHAT: ST JOHN FESTIVITIES (SAO JOAO)
WHERE: PORTO, PORTUGAL
WHEN: 23RD TO 24TH JUNE 2020
COST: FREE TO ATTEND

The official date if the celebration is on the evening of the 23rd June carrying onto the 24th June, but if you are in Porto up to 5 weeks before the festival you will feel the festivity in the air. The festival if St John or Sao Joao in Portuguese is Porto’s largest saint festival and one of the biggest celebrations to be held in Europe. Held in the city of Porto, Portugal it is the most anticipated celebration in the calendar combining sacred and profane traditions along with food, culture, fireworks and much more.

The history of the event dates to the 14th century when it was originally a pagan festival that celebrated the sun god and celebrates abundant crops. Back when it was a pagan festival the celebration had various traditions one of these was to hang leeks on the outside of houses as this was thought to bring good luck, in the recent celebrations you will notice people walking around with a leek flower and touching people’s faces. Other herbs play a part in the rituals as they were used in pagan courtship rituals along with bringing health, good luck and fortune.  Some of the more confident Later the Catholic church decided to Christianise it and the celebration became an honour of St John the Baptist, but the rituals were the same along with some new additions of the plastic hammer. Now one of the quirkier traditions that characterizes the St John festival, the plastic hammers are sold all over the city by street vendors and are used for hitting passers-by lightly on the head of everyone you meet along the way.

The highlight of the festival is the night of the 23rd June, the streets are lined with St john’s balloons made of bright coloured paper with larger balloons released painting the skies with hundreds of lights. The buzz of joy from the crowds and the live music along with the entertainment all add to the party atmosphere. Smoke from the many BBQ’s linger in the air as friends and families gather together to enjoy the traditional fayre of grilled sardines, Caldo Verde (a shredded green cabbage soup), chicken and Bifana’s (pork sandwiches) washed down with a glass of good port wine of course. Please note that due to the number of visitors to the festival along with the massive party atmosphere this festival is not one for the faint-hearted.

After enjoying a hearty meal, and a drink or two, the crowds make their way down to the D. Luis Bridge and the banks of the Douro River for the highlight of the festivities. At around midnight the dark skies are lit up in a kaleidoscope of colour and effects as the fireworks begin on the river. Thousands watch in awe as the bright colours burst drawing shapes in the air, this lasts for around 15 minutes in total.

After the fireworks, some revellers head off home, but many make their way on the D. Luiz Bridge to the nearest beach to sit and watch the sunrise. However, with plenty of distractions along the way such as improvised balls where you will be dragged to dance and food corners where you can stop to refuel on food and drink if you so wish this may be easier said than done.

The following day and one of the quieter days of the festival the Regatta of Rabelo Boats in the Douro river takes place. These beautiful boats are from days gone by when they were used to transport Port wine.

This is a festival that you should put on your bucket list and see both the traditional and quirky sides of the Portuguese festival of St John.

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PLYMOUTH BRITISH FIREWORK CHAMPIONSHIPS 2020

WHAT: BRITISH FIREWORKS CHAMPIONSHIPS 2020
WHY: NATIONAL FIREWORK CHAMPIONSHIPS
WHEN: 12TH – 13TH August 2020
WHERE: MOUNTBATTEN BREAKWATER, PLYMOUTH SOUND, PLYMOUTH HOE
COST: FREE

One of the most important competitions in the UK Professional Firework calendar will once again thrill young and old alike over the beautiful settings of Plymouth Sound this Summer.

The list of pyrotechnic competitors for this year’s British Fireworks Championships are as follows:

THE FIREWORKERS – DRIFFIELD

SKYBURST THE FIREWORK COMPANY – BRISTOL

PHOENIX FIREWORKS – SEVENOAKS

BRIGHT SPARKS – NORTH WALES

AURORA FIREWORKS – BILLINGSHURST

A J PYROTECHNICS – FOLKESTON

We will bring more details of the firing order and subsequent information once it is available.

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THUNDER OVER LOUISVILLE 2020

WHAT: THUNDER OVER LOUISVILLE 2020
WHY: FIREWORK AND AIRSHOW EVENT
WHEN: 18TH APRIL 2020
WHERE: WATERFRONT PARK, LOUISVILLE
COST: FREE

Reportedly ‘the largest annual fireworks display in North America’, Thunder Over Louisville has been a part of the annual entertainment in the region since it started back in 1988. Initially, a small event which featured only daytime fireworks; that was soon to change. In 1991, one of the USA’s first firework families, Zambelli Fireworks Internationale, got involved and the rest they say is history.

At the outset, fireworks were an important part of the proceedings and in 1991, they launched around 4000 shells. By 1996, the same number of shells (4000) were launched in the first minute as were used in total in 1990. Today, Thunder Over Louisville brings around 700,000 spectators to see the 60,000 shells launched from eight, 400 feet long barges and the bridge over the Ohio River.

The firework display is HUGE and lasts around 30 minutes and last year, they really tricked everyone who was not used to seeing the display, as they used a false finale, dropped it right back and then BOOOM, ‘the Gargantuan’, which is the local’s name for the super finale filled the skies thrilling and in some cases shocking the audience.

Spectator numbers do not include locals who hold huge rooftop parties around the City where they have a clear view of the firework display, so the real number of spectators is probably closer to the million mark.

Thunder Over Louisville 2013

The theme for this year is ‘Thunder’s Greatest Hits’ where organisers are going to put together all the greatest hits of events in the last 30 years so it is going to be a thriller as the reason for the name ‘Thunder Over Louisville’ was in a nod to Days of Thunder, a fabulous racing film from 1990, starring Tom Cruise alongside an all star cast.

The fireworks are of course the main reason for attending the event but the daytime is packed with aviation specialists from the armed forces and is another show not to be missed. There will be attractions, food concessions and all manner of entertainment around throughout the day and into the late evening.

The event is only made possible because of the generosity of the fabulous sponsors maintaining this as a free event for the entertainment of everyone.

The aviation demonstrations are from the following:

  • US NAVY F35 DEMO
  • US AIRFORCE F16 VIPER DEMO
  • US MARINE CORPS MV22 OSPREY DEMO
  • US ARMY GOLDEN KNIGHTS PARACHUTE DISPLAY TEAM
  • WILD BLUE RV8 – TRIBUTE SHOW TO FIRST RESPONDERS

A great day out. Check out the video of the fireworks from 2018.

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