Jared Ferrie/Metro Vancouver


Vincente Garcia Picazo prepares fireworks on a barge in English Bay yesterday. Spain will present the first of four shows tonight as part of this year’s HSBC Celebration of Light.


For Ricardo Caballer, working with fireworks isn’t just a job — it’s a way of life passed down through generations.

Caballer, who leads the Spanish team featured in tonight’s HSBC Celebration of Light, has had a childhood punctuated by brilliant bursts of pyrotechnics. His great grandfather began the family business in 1880.

“It almost feels like an obligation since it’s been in the family for so many generations,” he said yesterday, standing on a barge in English Bay while his team bustled around him connecting fuses and loading paper-wrapped shells into mortars. Spain is the first of three contestants in the competition.

“I hope that people will love the show,” said Caballer. “But fireworks is such an ephemeral art that, until the show, you never know what will happen.”

One thing he is certain of is that the family tradition will carry on. Caballer’s 22-year-old son is currently helping to prepare for a show in Brazil.

When it happens

  • Canada performs July 28, followed by China on Aug. 1. The grand finale happens Aug. 4.