Exciting new plans for this year's Lancaster Fireworks Spectacular will see the dazzling display being launched – for the first time ever - from the roof of the historic Lancaster Castle.
The Duchy of Lancaster has given permission for this magnificent building to be the centrepiece of the pyrotechnics, moving the launch from its traditional spot on the nearby Vicarage Fields.
Not only will the castle act as the perfect backdrop for the drama of the display, but the new location will also increase the height of the firework launch by up to 100 feet, and therefore increase the distance from which they can be seen.
As in previous years, the castle and priory precinct will be closed during the display.
Due to the popularity of last year’s event, which attracted record crowds at some of the most popular viewing sites, organisers have introduced a free wristband system for the two official viewing areas closest to the castle at Quay Meadow and Giant Axe.
Members of the public will be able to get their wristbands on a first-come-first-served basis by registering online at www.lancaster.gov.uk/fireworks.
Coun Ron Sands, cabinet member with responsibility for tourism, said: “Year–on-year we have seen the Lancaster Firework Spectacular grow in popularity. Having been granted permission from the Duchy of Lancaster to launch the extravaganza from the top of Lancaster Castle, this year’s event promises to be the most spectacular of them all.
“We expect the event to be hugely popular and the official viewing areas will be in more demand than ever. The free wristband system will ensure that those people who want to view from these two sites will be able to do so safely and have an enjoyable time, while those who do not will know well in advance that they need to find an alternative viewing area from the many which are available.”
This is the first time the castle itself has been used to stage the extravaganza. Paul Clarke, CEO of the Duchy of Lancaster, said the closure of the prison earlier this year enabled the hosting of such an event.
“This is one of the biggest nights in the city’s calendar and we are delighted that the castle will be playing such an important part in Lancaster’s 2012 fireworks display. Previously there was limited access to some parts of the castle which prevented events like this from being held here. But, as we start to implement plans to open more of the castle to the public and integrate it more fully it into the life of the city, hopefully this will be the first of many such occasions.”
BBC Radio Lancashire will be broadcasting live from Quay Meadow from 7pm with a special programme of co-ordinated music on 104.5FM. Visitors are invited to go along and meet Lancaster's very own breakfast show presenter and TV news broadcaster, Graham Liver, as well as other Radio Lancashire personalities. Refreshments and entertainment will also be available at this venue before the fireworks are launched at 8pm.
Although the fireworks will be visible from almost anywhere in the city that can see the castle, there are three additional official viewing areas which do not require passes:
The Fireworks Spectacular is just the culmination of a weekend of activities in Lancaster.
The celebrations will start on Friday November 2 with ‘Light Up Lancaster’, brought to you by arts partners from across the district. The event invites you to stroll through the squares and alleyways at the heart of Lancaster by night and celebrate its heritage through illuminating performances of music, art and dance.
As a warm up for the evening’s event on Saturday, November 3, there will be witches and Guy Fawkes themed activities throughout the day in the city centre, including guided walks and tours, storytelling, arts and crafts and lantern making workshops.
Ann Morris, chief executive of the Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce, said: “There’s no need to miss out on any of the fun and excitement as Lancaster warms up for the evening’s event with a programme of themed activities and illuminated events which will keep everybody entertained as they shop, socialise or enjoy some quality food at the many pubs, cafes and restaurants in the city.”
Ruth Connor, chief executive of Marketing Lancashire, added: "Lancaster Fireworks Spectacular is one of the county’s most eagerly anticipated and best attended annual events and this year, when the castle has played such an important role in the marking of the 400th Anniversary of the Lancashire Witch Trials, it’s made extra special by the Duchy allowing the fireworks to be fired from the castle itself.
"We know visitors love Lancaster’s fireworks as it was the third most popular event on visitlancashire.com in 2011, which is a resource used by over 1 million unique users to plan their visits to Lancashire. It’s great for business too with hotels, restaurants and bars all benefitting from this superb Lancaster showcase."
For more information on the viewing areas and a full programme of the weekend’s events, visit www.lancaster.gov.uk/fireworks.
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