Event 58: Honda Celebration of Light…Fireworks from the world to the world…

Over Three nights a spectacular show was produced to create the Honda Celebration of Light. Thousands upon thousands flocked to English Bay to catch a glimpse of art…


What was the event?

What: Honda Celebration of Light

Where: English Bay, Vancouver

When: 27 July, 31 July and 3 August

And the story begins…

If I said name three countries who may be competing in the a World Offshore Firework Competition your automatic answer would be “Canada, India…and Croatia…” Totally yeah? Well, that’s who was competing to become the world champions. I had researched this event last July in 2018 when I was scribbling what events would be cool to visit. I wanted a wide range of events on my journey and I could not get anymore different than this…well except for “The Penis Festival” in Tokyo – that was out there…

However, back to the fireworks. I was able to understand on the ground what made the event special. For three nights I, along with thousands watched a show – but with hundreds of thousands descending is this event more than a spectacle than the world?

To a global audience this event isn’t on the map. In my opinion and with no evidence there is no one who would say let’s go our holidays from Croatia when the Celebration of Light is on. However, in Vancouver – this is “theeeee” the event. It’s the event everyone in the area explores, enjoys and consumes. People drove for hours to sit in the same spot they do year on year. I spoke to a family on the Wednesday evening who had been enjoying the event for some time and every year there was a new addition to the group – whether it was a new family member, partner or more people they had dragged to come along to be part of the event.


Spectacles, Hallmark and other ways of describing events does not cover this event. It’s a local event but with what I would suggest could be considered as international audience numbers. It’s positioning around the world needs to be “packaged” and sold more. People need to experience this and even create it as the must thing to do for Vancouver. What do visitors take away from the event? What lasting impression is left?

Fireworks are one thing. But when thousands of people are together what can be created like what message to say to the world…”WELCOME TO VANCOUVER…” What can be done innovative way to say to the world hello from Vancouver or what is it that could get a page spread in a British or Italian newspaper.

The fireworks display was only a small segment of the festival. The Zest Stage was bouncing throughout the evening. Different nights with different music. The hospitality areas were full and the crowds were enjoy socialising together. It’s about building on the socialising – how does the event allows consume social abilities. Seems crazy but thinking about all of this allows such an amazing event to be socially constructed and enjoyed for all. Dancing, well tapping my foot, I looked around as everyone was filming. So that brings us to a new point…


To film or take a photo – what does that do or mean? Where and what does the photograph mean and where does it go. This is something that needs to be thought through more by event producers – “the photograph what do we want the photograph to do for the event?” As I looked around all I could see, after the sun had set, was the white lights of phones getting ready to catch the perfect “insta” moment…So yeah that’s my one thing and question – what is the journey of a customer photograph?

In terms of noting about – operations, traffic mitigation, policing, vendors, food options – that’s for the book – because this whole event could be its own amazing glossy book. But to focus on the product was the aim of this blog. Check out all of the rest in next year’s number one book…

One thing to take away…

Thousands upon thousands create the event for themselves. They bring blankets and friends. On top of this is the event entertainment and fireworks – with hundreds of thousands together what can the message from Vancouver to the world be…


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