Celebration set to show pyrotechnic wizardry

A rainbow of technicolour will blast over English Bay tonight as thetwo-time Celebration of Light champion Team Canada pays explosivetribute to The Wizard of Oz.

A rainbow of technicolour will blast over English Bay tonight as the two-time Celebration of Light champion Team Canada pays explosive tribute to The Wizard of Oz.

Kelly Guille, the designer of tonight’s show No Place Like Home, has won back-to-back Celebration of Light competitions with a jazz-and-swing show in 2007 and monster Godzilla-inspired show last year.

“I try to make it a strong theme, so that (the viewer) can follow through,” said Guille on a barge in English Bay yesterday as his team of pyrotechnicians fitted some 3,000 explosive firework shells into mortars.

The show is set to the soundtrack to The Wizard of Oz and Guille said he tries to replicate the scenes visually through colours and through the patterns and timings of explosions.

Regardless, he added, “the show is designed to some great music for fireworks, so it’s an enjoyable show whether you know what’s going on storywise or what.”

The show begins at 10 p.m. There will be numerous road closures and Vancouver police will have a highly visible presence in the Downtown core, the West End and Kitsilano.

Guille, who got his start in fireworks by working for a “guy” who used to sell consumer fireworks out of the back of his truck, said his design and production has gotten smoother since the 2007 show.

This year was a challenge, he said, because the annual fireworks festival was (temporarily) cancelled in early February because of the economic downturn — after he’d already ordered fireworks for the show.

“It was challenging because I put everything on hold. It’s not like I’m sitting around with nothing to do.”

 
 
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