Celebration of Light snuffed out
photo by Jon Rawlinson
Well, that’s a crappy way to start the news day – The Vancouver Fireworks Festival Society has announced that sponsor funding wasn’t able to make up the $4 million required to hold the event this year.
The Vancouver Sun has the full article here [VS], which outlines some details on the event. The fireworks event, notable as being the largest fireworks festival in the world, has been going for 18 years, draws 350,000 on each of the four nights every year, and generates $37 million.
Reaction has been mixed, with some arguing that the people downtown are happy to see the event go and other wondering why the government (at all three levels) don’t step in to help.
I dismiss the first as being a not uncommon, selfish attitude – while it’s true the event does disrupt the downtown core and those that live there suffer various inconveniences, it should be said again; $37 million to downtown businesses (plus whatever those people selling pop and water on their lawns get) and top-ranking, world-class event. There’s something important about having a world-class event and while some people might be happier without them, cities are diminished when they’re gone. Kart racing anyone?
As for the second point, you can probably thank the Olympics. A great deal of money has already been committed to finance this one-off, world-class event, most of which will be held in an entirely different town. In any other year, even the municipal government might have been able to top up the pot, but this is the final 11 months run-up to the 2010 Olympics.
I’d like to float a suggestion that perhaps one world-class event, one that will fade over time (for example, is Vancouver still dining out on Expo 86? No, no we’re not) might consider saving Vancouver’s other world-class event, the one that will ideally return every Summer for years to come. I suspect that this is a fantasy world and those organizing the Olympics are more than happy to see it die, but imagine it; The Vancouver Celebration of Light, presented by The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics! Part of the event is turned into a giant press event – a sneak peak of the Olympic torch, which is ceremoniously used to set off the fireworks, which end with five fireworks exploding into the Olympic rings!
But until then, I guess I better find something else to do with my August.