The coldness of a sudden monsoon couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of tens of thousands of people who elbowed themselves into the crowd along the Han River on March 27 night for the start of a two-day international fireworks competition in the central city of Danang.
At 8:35pm the crowd burst into applause after Chairman of municipal People’s Committee Tran Van Minh declared the contest open to celebrate the city’s liberation day and the 1,000th anniversary of capital Hanoi.
The water and sky were lit up by the magnificent fireworks representing “The Legend of Han River”, in harmony with a variety of music.
Thirty-five imperial boats representing the number of years since the city’s liberation sailed around garlands of flowers and coloured lanterns.
Five teams from France, Japan, Portugal, the US and host Danang-Vietnam tool part in the festival.
Competitors promised to bring something special to this year’s event with performances based on famous folk tales of dragons and ferries and they didn’t disappoint.
Audiences on March 27 were treated to a free and easy Portugal, a Japanese philosophy of peace and hope and a Vietnam full of vitality. On March 28’s performances also displayed a merry US soul and a romantic France despite quite heavy rain.
Members of the audience who didn’t manage to get a seat in the 26,000 capacity grand stand took up positions wherever they could - on balconies, on fences and even in trees.
Signs advertising views of the fireworks were seen in most hostels and restaurants along the river, but there were no vacancies by the evening.
Photographer Trinh Thong Thien said it was very hard for him to take pictures from the Han River swing-bridge because there was not enough room.
Local people said their hearts quickened as they watched the performance echo out the nation’s four-thousand year history, especially on such an important occasion for the country in general and the city in particular.
From 4 pm, locals and tourists were seen walking along the streets of Danang heading for the city centre where the fireworks festival was to take place.
“The city has its own unique way of holding an event, and fireworks festivals have become synonymous with Danang and it’s cultural and tourism products that promote its image to tourists both at home and abroad,” they said.
The fireworks festival closed on March 28 with the French team winning the first prize. The second prize went to the US team and the third prize, to Vietnam, Japan and Portugal.