|Going crazy on Sydney Harbour|
|It's all about the Bridge|
Originally - that is, from the 1980s - it was a chap named Syd Howard and his company. He was the first to think of using the Sydney Harbour Bridge as the centrepiece for the display. Since the 2000 NYE fireworks, the pyrotechnics have been masterminded by Foti International Fireworks. The Foti Family have been letting off fireworks since 1793, so presumably they know what they are doing. The Fotis are Sicilian in origin and the current technicians are the 6th and 7th generation of pyrotechnicians in the family.
|Sunset on the Sydney Opera House: waiting to board our trusty vessel|
|Wind drift to the south: but the Foti brothers coped magnificently.|
And for the Big Show: fireworks erupt from several sites along the foreshore - reaching out towards the Heads and inland towards the Parramatta River - so everyone gets a chance to see them; and from half a dozens high rise rooftops in the City; and - the centrepiece - from the Bridge itself, which is closed to traffic for a few hours. The signature piece is the “waterfall” from the Bridge: a continual stream of fireworks dripping from the base of the Bridge to actually touch the water. It is made up of about 1100 candle fireworks, and each year some new twist is added. Will it be the traditional silver? Will it be golden? Will Roman candles spurt out of it? And will this year see the return of the popular “Birthday Cake” effect where fireworks shoot out of the top of the Bridge’s arch? Ahh, the anticipation.
|Tall ship, the 'James Craig', leads the parade of lights|
|Our trusty vessel, the MV 'Mulgi', 86 years old, joined the parade.|
|The parade of lights: pretty in pink.|
But the really big moment is the “Bridge Effect”, where a ‘secret’ symbol lights the finale on the Eastern face of the Bridge. It started in 1997-98 with a simple Smiley face, but has taken on a life of its own. The symbol is now usually tied into the theme...all a bit much for a fireworks display, you think? Well, the Creative Team, the Foti Brothers and a couple of million Sydney-siders and summer visitors take all this very seriously.
|The 'waterfall' effect, 2011|
Here’s some examples of recent themes and their loosely-associated ‘Bridge effects’:
1999-2000 "Millennium” “Eternity” in copperplate writing (very Sydney - another blog post needed to explain that)
2000-2001 "Centenary of Federation" Rainbow Serpent & a Federation Star
2001-2002 "Year of the Outback" Uluru, the Southern Cross & a dove of peace
2002-2003 "Celebration in Unity" Dove of peace and the word PEACE
2003-2004 "City of Light" Light Show
2004-2005 "Reflections" Disco Ball
2005-2006 "Heart of the Harbour" Three concentric hearts
2006-2007 "A Diamond Night in Emerald City" Coathanger & a diamond
2007-208 "The Time of Our Lives" Hourglass and a Mandala
2008-2009 "Creation" The Sun
2009-2010 "Awaken the Spirit" Taijitu symbol, Blue Moon & a ring of fire
2010-2011 "Make Your Mark" X Mark, Smiley face, Ticking Clock, Target and
And TONIGHT? -----
2011-2012 "Time to Dream" Endless Rainbow, Multicoloured Clouds,
In the months leading up to 31 December (usually from late October), the scaffolding and framework for the Bridge effect are clearly visible on the Bridge’s eastern face, as is the outline for the design. Sydneysiders speculate as to how the effect is to be realised, although recently we have been given a sneak preview, with some light effects flickering on and off on December evenings. Here’s the hot news for this year:
The theme for Sydney New Year's Eve 2011 was revealed on the 4th of November as "Time To Dream". Fireworks Director Fortunato Foti, has stated this years show will feature new pyrotechnic effects such as, "criss-cross" shells that create a lattice effect, "Quadrant" shells that will burst into four different colours of the NYE "endless rainbow" logo. Creative Headliner Marc Newson, has revealed "The rainbow includes violet to represent community, peace, social stability and connectedness; blue to symbolise the harbour, sky and future aspirations; green for the environment, nurturing and growing; and yellow, which epitomises optimism, happiness and a sunny attitude." The shows budget will increase from $5 million to $6.3 million, once again utilising 7000 kilograms of explosives. (from Sydney Media quoted by Wikipedia)
|The Bridge explodes: 9 pm fireworks, 2011|
OK, if you’re not impressed, you’re unimpressable. And bear in mind that in The Lucky Country, unlike some less fortunate places in the world, the news is not constantly about economic doom and gloom: let’s hear it for “community, peace, social stability and connectedness” and “optimism, happiness and a sunny attitude”-- good wishes for 2012.
It is early evening in Sydney on 31st December 2011 and I'm off to join the happy throng harbourside. My plan is to bring back some pictures of the famous Sydney NYE fireworks to illustrate this blog post. If I'm not back by 2012, send a rescue party - with champagne.
Update 1.1.12: don't worry, back safely with a few blurry pictures to show you.
Happy New Year!
|2011: Happy New Year|