What used to be a competition between two Prairie provinces who love to hate each other – Saskatchewan and Manitoba – the Moosomin Sask., Living Skies Come Alive International Fireworks Competition has now taken its opposition from overseas.
The two-day event on Aug. 3 and 4 features a pyrotechnic battle between Canada and the Philippines and, now in its 10th year, draws crowds in the tens of thousands. That high turnout is quite the feat for a town with a population of just 2,500.
“The Filipino community has really accepted this as a project and right from the very start has been very excited to be part of it and performing,” said Layne McFarlane, Chair of the fireworks committee of the Moosomin Regional Park.
The competition started out as two nights of fireworks put on by Winnipeg firework company ProCan Pyrotechnics. Each night of fireworks was rated and a winner was given a trophy.
“It started very, very small,” McFarlane said. “Then it became Regina versus Winnipeg – with two different companies from each city. Three years ago we moved to an international competition.”
Last year’s event featured Canada vs. the United States, and 2017’s event saw Canada go head-to-head with China, turning up 12,500 attendees with an average of about 4,500-7,000 per day.
This year the Philippines will be on full display in the sky and on the ground – the event also features activities throughout the day and a cultural experience for residents and visitors of the small Saskatchewan town who have made the trek for the spectacle.
The town’s slogan, “Strength in Diversity,” isn’t just a phrase; the Filipino community is thriving in Moosomin, making the country a natural choice as this year’s competitor.
The decision to take the competition international was ignited by the need to continue to light up the eyes of attendees through innovation.
“We can’t expect people to come back and see the same thing they did last year,” McFarlane said.
When it comes to the light show, McFarlane said the setting adds to the scene.
“The venue really makes it very special.”
The festivities begin at 11 a.m. with breakfast and they continue throughout the day with activities for kids, live music, and a cultural offering in the form of foods and activities from the country featured.
“It’s great for the community to come together with events like this and it just makes us stronger.”