City glows under NZ's biggest display

By Rochelle Long

Between the boisterous Hellfire Barrage and the beautiful 100 Shot Flower Exhibition, it was definitely a case of more bang for your buck as Northlanders were treated to the country's largest fireworks display at the weekend.
The annual Whangarei Lions Club fireworks display attracted about 10,000 people from all around Northland to Okara Park on Saturday night.
Fireworks committee chairman Stephen Ganley said the fantastic weather had probably given the event its largest turn-out ever.
The crowd was treated to entertainment from Helinorth, the Hardcore Dance Company, and the surprisingly graceful "dancing diggers" before the main event.
As the lights went down, hundreds of fluorescent coloured lights from "glo-sticks" - sold to support the Northland Electricity rescue helicopters - bobbed among the crowd before $20,000 worth of fireworks lit up the night sky.
"It's the largest annual stand-alone fireworks display in New Zealand. Opera in the Park (in Auckland) goes for seven minutes with a maximum of five-inch shells, while ours went for 28 minutes with a maximum of eight-inch shells," Mr Ganley said.
"It was a great family night. Obviously all the kids loved it. It's a good, safe display, rather than dad burning his hand or burning down the garden shed at a home display."
Mr Ganley said there had been wonderful community support from many groups to help the evening run smoothly, and any surplus money raised from the event will go back into the community through the Lions.
The police, fire service, and St John ambulance were on hand, but Mr Ganley said he was aware of only one minor incident of disorder, and there had been no serious injuries.
Meanwhile, three jokesters obviously inspired by the rockets streaking across the sky decided to do a streak of their own after more innocent eyes had gone home.
Mr Ganley said about half-a-dozen people were doing final lock-ups when they noticed three males running "butt naked" towards town.

- Northern Advocate

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