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Underwater Fireworks ?

On August 18th at 6:30 pm the annual Dadaocheng Wharf Fireworks Festival kicks off with an unusual display promised by the organisers.

After the Northern Taipei area was almost obliterated by typhoon Saola earlier this month and tropical storm Kai-Tak (also known as Helen) threatens landfall again. The people connected have raced to clear up the area just in time for the festivities.

Winds of over 65 mph and a predicted 4 inches of rain falling per hour would usually put most hardened pyro fans off putting on a display of this magnitude, but not the Taiwanese. Although the storm is at present 370 miles south-east of Hong Kong, hopes are high that the storm will skirt around them this time. But, in readiness for the worst possible scenario, the officials have been beavering away to come up with a “plan B”. Last night, secret testing took place on a new addition to the popular show based on the Yangping riverside park, underwater Fireworks.

Details are sketchy so far, but we don’t expect the calcium carbide (acetylene gas producer) chlorine gas mixtures that react with each other to produce firework effects underwater to make an appearance due to the environmental impact they have. We feel it will be a far grander affair.

With over 100,000 people estimated to watch the display each year the display lasts longer than the previous. With Taiwan being under Japanese rule until 1945 when China took control, its cultural history and firework background are reflected in the display.

The best place to watch the spectacle will be on the northern part of the Zhongxiao bridge on the Danshui river between water gates 3-5. A shuttle service will run from 17:00 until 23:00 between MRT Shuanglian station and Taipei main station (we wouldn’t recommend trying to drive to the display), for visitors travelling from MRT Daqiatou station, buses 2, 9, 223, 288 & 302 will get you to the event.

As usual, the top tips are “get there early” as the prime viewing areas tend to fill up very quickly, wear warm/waterproof clothing, make sure you have plenty of batteries ready if filming the fireworks, and most importantly have fun.

As well as the introduction of the underwater fireworks to the popular show, this year the pyro will be launched from a rectangle of points with intersecting lines and geometric shapes in order to create 3d effects in this high-level pyrotechnic show.

If anyone reading does attend, we would love to see the display from your point of view, you can drop us an e-mail to with a link to YouTube.

If you would like to know a little more about the science of underwater fireworks, Professor Mark Wendt explains all in this short video.

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