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Forte Dei Marmi Fireworks Festival

WHAT: FORTE DAI MARMI INTERNATIONAL FIREWORKS FESTIVAL 2016
WHY: INTERNATIONAL FIREWORK COMPETITION
WHEN: 4TH AND 18TH JUNE AND 9TH AND 23RD JULY 2016
WHERE: THE PIER, FORT DEI MARNI, NORTHERN ITALY
COST: FREE

2016 marks the second edition of this fantastic new competition event of 4 nights entertainment which also brings together, pyro-technists from across the world in order to compete for the trophy but more importantly, the accolade of firing for the Town’s church fiesta.

The teams from England and South Africa have already enjoyed the Italian hospitality when they each fired before huge crowds on the 4th and 18th June. At the moment, it would appear that they are giving little away as to the possible winner but following on from this weekend’s event the professional judges, from the world of arts and culture, will have sufficient information to make an informed choice.

First to fire were SMart Pyrotechnics from Salisbury in the UK. This team was established in 2007 by Steve Martin and Anthony Foti (Austrian) and they are firmly placed at the top of their game. SMart lifted the First place in the British Musical Firework Championships in Southport in 2015 and they won the Audience Vote from Southport in 2014 as well as being worthy winners of the 1st place in Courcheval in France.

Next up, 18th June, ‘Fireworks for Africa’ with their team of professionals began back in 1996 under the guidance of Nick Mitri. Once they had honed their skills in their domestic market, they have certainly made a name for themselves as worthy opponents as they have taken the rest of the world by storm. They picked up the spectators award at Ignis Brunensis (Brno – Czech Republic) followed by a very close second place at Herrenhausen (not bad for the first ever African competitors) and they also have taken part in competition in Da Nang, Macao and Hannover.

This weekend finds the last of the three teams competing; FLASH ART GROUP which was established in 1987 and their display team have performed shows in Germany and across Europe with some success. In addition to competing, they have fired displays for all manner of events from the opening and closing of the Cricket Super League in February this year and of course, the finale fireworks for the F1 race in Abu Dhabi in 2015.

The final day is the 23rd of July when the votes are counted and the awards firstly for the Audience Vote will be allocated and then the technical jury will announce their champion before the display from Pyrotechnics Morsani gets underway for the entertainment of the spectators.

The winners will be responsible for the fireworks on Sunday 28th August 2016 for the traditional Fiesta of the Patron of St Hermes (aka Festa di Sant’ Ermete) which takes place over 3 days at the latter end of August annually. They will light up the picturesque church with light and effects.

The Northern Tuscan seaside town in Versilia is most certainly the holiday/short break destination for wealthy VIPS and celebrities.

It is certainly going to be a hard-fought last round but we will bring you news of the outcome as soon as we can as usual.

MALTA MECHANIZED GROUND FIREWORKS FESTIVAL

WHAT: MALTA MECHANIZED GROUND FIREWORKS FESTIVAL
WHEN: SATURDAY 9TH APRIL 2016 (SETUP OF THE DISPLAY ON FRIDAY 8TH APRIL 2016)
WHERE: THE GRANARIES, ST PUBLIUS SQUARE, MALTA
WHY: MECHANICAL FIREWORKS FESTIVAL
COST: FREE 🙂

The mechanized ground fireworks festival has been an important part of the Fiesta celebrations to be held in Malta.

The competition between the factories has always been fierce and it is a matter of intense pride to win the award for your own factory resulting in the competitors striving for excellence every time.

Nar ta' l-Art, Floriana.

The setting up of the Fest Ta Nar (fire festival) takes the majority of the day to complete as in addition to the usual set up of the fireworks there is a great deal more intricate and complicated parts to ensure are in working order and are connected to the relevant effect. The maximum dimension of the wheel must be no more than 30 feet across. They are a complex fusion of levels, gears, wheels, chains and links resulting in 3D movement with the ability to open and close, rotate and move forth and back too with added pyrotechnics.

The Firework factories included in this year’s event are as follows:

St Margaret’s Firework Association
15th August Fireworks Association
Our Lady of Nativity Fireworks Association
Fontana Fireworks Association
St Paul’s Fireworks Complex
St Josephs Firework Complex
22 February Fireworks Association
Mount Carmel Factory
St Catherine’s Pyrotechnic Association
St Bartholomew’s Fireworks Association
St Leonard’s Firework Factory
15th August Fireworks Factory

There are 30 firework companies on the Island and pyro remains at the very heart of the people of Malta and have been since the very early part of the 11th century when they were intrinsic to celebrations. For the most part there would have used cannon and musket fire and the sound of the explosion of crackers in quick succession as an expression of joy/celebration and over the years this grew into an event which now include the ‘Malta International Firework Festival‘, a competition which takes place each Saturday including 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th April 2016 in a number of locations across the Island.

Here is a taster of some of last year’s examples of engineering and pyrotechnics coming together to create beautiful effects.

THE WORLDS MOST DANGEROUS FIREWORK FESTIVAL

WHAT: THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS FIREWORK FESTIVAL
WHY: PYROTECHNIC BASED CELEBRATION
WHEN: SUNDAY 21st FEBRUARY AND MONDAY 22nd FEBRUARY 2016
WHERE: YANSHUI DISTRICT, TAINAN, TAIWAN

As amble along in the Yanshui district of Tainan, in South-west Taiwan, on the 21st or 22nd of February this year, you may be forgiven for thinking you have somehow been transported to a distant planet, as strangely dressed people mill around. They are wearing everything from homemade space helmets, tin hats and motorcycle headgear throng around covered from head to foot in a mish-mash of protective clothing, scavenged from junkyards or thrift shops, thick gloves and fire-retardant scarves hiding the faces of the adrenalin filled well wishes.

2013 Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival 鹽水蜂炮

A raucous group of horn players strike up as statues of the Chinese god of war Guan Gong carried along in sedan chairs make their way through the crowds, behind the excited onlookers stand the “Bee hives”, standing four metres in height they are then wheeled into position. The bee hives, made entirely from pine, are actually launching stations for small rockets. Densely packed, some contain up to 600,000 tightly wound cardboard tubes with small directional sticks attached filled with black powder they whiz and dart around the crowds – being hit by one of these will, it is believed, bring you good luck.

Last year the two most popular bee hives built by Shen-Chi Chung and his family were modelled on the animated character; SpongeBob SquarePants and a huge pirate ship over eight metres in height, boasting around 45,000 rockets incorporated into the designs.

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Costing around £12,000 each and taking around a month to build there are certain rules that have to be followed, the most important of which is that any woman may work on the structures as long as they are not pregnant, and any men wanting to participate must pray to Guan Gong three years in a row before they are allowed to assist with the building of the bee hives.

The grand finale sees three huge structures the first two contain 400,000 rockets each the final larger assembly will launch 600,000 rockets.

The first night is more of a local affair where the second night is mainly for the tourists, visiting officials and those not wearing protective clothing have the option to stand behind a 20 x 50 metre wire mesh screen.

The festival started in the late 19th century to combat cholera and the plague, Yanshui at the time was a very important port due to its location on the then busy canal system, the diseases had ravaged the area for two decades until a shaman summoned the god Guan Gong to dispel the evil, the deity agreed to attend as long as there was fireworks, in reality the sulphur from the fireworks killed the cholera’s bacteria the loud noise scared away the rats carrying the plague saving the city.

The Festival Director; Lin Yi-Ren, remembers back when as a child they used to hold the rocket sticks, letting them blast off from their fingertips and run around without any protection at all.

Although Taiwan recently suffered an earthquake of 6.4 which stuck 17 miles north of Pingtung City, the festivals organisers say it will still go ahead.

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