Monday 21 October 2019

Fireworks will be watched by 20,000 people

By Amy Lewis

A total of 358kg of fireworks will be launched into the sky for this Wednesday's fireworks display - and at a cost of €15,000, it certainly won't be a night of cheap thrills.

Two vanloads packed with over 2,000 individual fireworks coupled with the work of over 100 volunteers are behind the spectacular sight but in the end, it will all boil down to the 12-minute display.

The speeches kick off at 7 p.m., and organisers expect 20,000 pairs of eyes on the sky when the fireworks display begins at 7.30 p.m.

All of the fireworks are Chinese in origin, with creative names to fit the nature of the festival to follow. Popping flowers, silver spinning serpents and red and silver comets are just some of the creatures due to dance across the dark canvas of the sky. The display will combine the exotic with a taste of home, as plenty of green, white and gold designs will also be featured.

Supplier Pat 'KC' Whelan of Nationwide Fireworks has once again been tasked with ensuring the opening ceremony is a roaring success. His main piece of advice is to come early.

'People should arrive early, find their spot and make themselves comfortable,' said Pat.

Those who listen to Pat's golden advice may save themselves a euro or two as for the first year, there will be free car parking at Ferrybank beside the council carpark.

This has been put in place to ensure that cars are not parked on the road beside the bridge.

As a family event, Pat encourages people of all ages to come along to the display, but no matter how close you are with your canine companion, he strongly advises people not to bring dogs. Drones are also a no go on the night.

'If people have drones, we ask them to leave them at home. If they bring them, there is a great danger of them crossing over the fireworks and hitting someone in the crowd,' said Pat. 'Last year, there were a number of drones going around so we have to warn people not to bring them.'

The organisers have covered every aspect of safety to make sure the event goes off without a hitch. Fifty stewards will be on hand around the town to assist anyone in need on the night. Wexford Civil Defence, Order of Malta, Wexford RNLI, MarineWatch, Gardaí and Wexford Fire Service will also be on board. The fireworks will be launched from the protective arm and ballast bank and to ensure safety, an exclusion zone will be erected around both sites. It will also be closed to marine traffic from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m., while Irish Rail will hold a train at the station to cooperate with the display.

There will also be a medical plan in place in the incident of any emergencies. Thankfully, Pat said that this is something that they have never had to resort to.

Weather is something that can't be prepared for but according to Pat, the forecast shows Wednesday to be a clear night. Rain, hail or shine, the event will still go ahead.

'The only thing that will stop us is gale-force wind coming into the quay,' said Pat.

With everything in place, all that's left for visitors to do is find parking. All of the carparks in Wexford will be open to the public, with some disabled spaces opposite Wexford Credit Union.

Finding a viewing spot is very much a personal preference. While some people enjoy watching from Wexford bridge or Ferrybank, others get a view from a distance at spots such as St Peter's College, Mulgannon or Rosslare.

With the countdown officially on for the night, the town is buzzing with excitement. And despite organising the display for over 30 years, Pat himself is as eager as the rest.

'I'm like a big child. I haven't grown up!' he said. 'I have been doing it for years and it's still as exciting as ever.'

Wexford People

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