Community

Fireworks show sparks memories

Two generations of Whitney Street School pupils are looking forward to fireworks fun this Saturday night. Pictured from left are Naomi Barton and daughter Emilia, Deborah Barton, whose son Sidney is in the foreground, Huia Crosby with sons Maui and Tamiti, Andrea Craig with son Sam, and Jeff Valk with son George. Photo: Supplied.

Watching their children light up with excitement at the prospect of this weekend’s big fireworks show sparks memories for these parents.

They are all former Whitney Street School pupils and their children now attend the school too.

The fireworks event, Lights Over Marlborough 2020, is the school’s big annual fundraiser.

It’s on this Saturday night, with food carts, on-stage entertainment and lots of fun activities from 6pm, before the fireworks light up the night sky as darkness falls.

Organisers encourage people to come early and buy dinner on site, or bring a picnic, and enjoy the happy vibe.

Parent Andrea Craig says the school roll and the fireworks event had grown since her days as a pupil, but the community feeling of the gathering was just the same.

“It’s still a very relaxed evening out, there’s so much for the kids to do beforehand and the fireworks at the end are still really exciting.”

Back in the day, the event featured a massive bonfire in the school grounds.

These past pupils recall their parents bringing in their garden cuttings and piling them on the bonfire in the days leading up to the event.

Families would also make Guys at home and carrying them down the street to the school.

They recalled raiding their parent’s old clothes – ties, stockings and cardigans – and stuffing them full of scrunched up newspaper to create their “Guy”.

They also remember with amusement that attitudes toward safety were quite different in 1980’s New Zealand.

Huia Crosby says she can’t over emphasise just how big the bonfire was – one year the flames were enormous, creating a spectacle in the night sky that was as unnerving for some as it was exciting for others in the crowd.

These days Lights Over Marlborough is at a bigger venue and attracts about 5000 people depending on the weather.  KiwiPyro licences pyrotechnician Michelle Harris oversees the display.

Michelle grew up in Blenheim and remembers fondly attending the early displays at Whitney Street School grounds as a child.

Now she organizes the music play list to the rhythm of the fireworks display.

The event is organised by the school’s Parent Support Group and this year money raised will go towards an astro turf.

The postponement date in case of bad weather is Sunday 15 November.

EVENT INFO:

What: Lights Over Marlborough Fireworks display

Tickets: Free for children under five, $8 for adults, $35 for a family pass of up two adults and three children

Where: Marlborough A and P Showgrounds on corner of Maxwell Rd and Alabama Rd in Blenheim

When: Gates open 5.30pm for a 6pm start, Saturday 14 November, or if postponed Sunday 15 November

Why: Major annual fundraiser for Whitney Street School

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