Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published October 28th 2014
When I was a child, people only bought fireworks for bonfire night. It was a special event to look forward to. Family friends would hold parties in their back garden, and everyone would bring their own selection of fireworks, while us kids got to waft around sparklers.
Then industries came up with a bright idea, and said, 'hey, I know, why don't we sell fireworks all year round? That way we'll make more money.' And so it began. Fireworks are available all the time, they can go off anytime of the year, whether it is bonfire night or just someone's birthday.
The excitement of home fireworks no longer remains; the only way for fireworks to remain special is by going to large community displays. And there are lot of them. Over Between Halloween and New Year there will be over thirty-five fireworks displays across the city. But which are the best ones to go to?
Until now, I would have said without a doubt, the best is the annual NYE Fireworks at South Bank, which is opened by the Mayor of London. I remember last year there was an unofficial global contest to se which country could out do who. Call me biased, but I did think London was the best. So what has made me change my mind this year? Well, it is still going to be a magnificent event, and probably the best of the year, but unfortunately, what used to be a free display now costs £10. Why bother when you can see it on TV without paying a penny?
That's not to say other places don't make you pay. Most do. It's just when you are used to getting something for free, and then have to pay, it's a bitter pill to swallow.
The first display will be at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens on the 31st October. It is free to attend, and also include rock opera, dancers, storytellers, fire breathers, and a bonfire.
Then on the 1st November you can enjoy free fireworks at Blackheath and Newham. Some of the paid for events include a fun fair, such as Chislehurst, Beckenham, Danson Park, and Norman Park. If you have young children, good choices are Morden Park and Crystal Palace, which will both be holding two displays; one in the evening, and one earlier, especially for young children.
Some events have special themes. For example, Bishops Park is focussing on Superheroes, while over at Ealing Cricket Club, they'll be celebrating cinema with fireworks accompanied to famous movie soundtracks.
For the good samaritans out there, a number of displays, such as those in Kingston, Carshalton Park, and Kempton Park are chairtable events, with the the profits raised going to good causes.
Bonfire Night it of course all based on the historic seventeenth century Gun Powder Plot led by Guy Fawkes. If you want something that harks back to what it is all about, then why not go to the Royal Gun Powder Mills for a display on this historic site? Alternatively, the Lord Mayor's Show goes back as far as 1215, and includes a full parade celebrating our heritage.
Have you been to any of these displays before? Which one was the best? Are they any you are particularly looking forward to this year?