Advertisement

Moosomin, Sask. fireworks competition sees Canada face Philippines in tenth anniversary event

Crowds gather on the beach at Moosomin Lake  in 2018s event featuring Canada vs. the US.
Crowds gather on the beach at Moosomin Lake in 2018s event featuring Canada vs. the US. Kim Poole/The World-Spectator

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 setting adds to the scene: the reflection of the fireworks on Moosomin Lake is part of the events grandeur.
The setting adds to the scene: the reflection of the fireworks on Moosomin Lake is part of the events grandeur. Kim Poole/The World-Spectator

“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.

Tweet This
Story continues below advertisement

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.

READ MORE: Celebration of Light wraps up in Vancouver: watch the fireworks show here

“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.

Last years event saw around 9,500 people watch as fireworks from competitors Canada and the US shot off their best display.
Last years event saw around 9,500 people watch as fireworks from competitors Canada and the US shot off their best display. Kim Poole/The World-Spectator

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.

Story continues below advertisement
“We have quite a large Filipino community in Moosomin and the surrounding area, so why wouldn’t we have their country [take part]?”

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.

READ MORE: Over 1,600 people float on Little Manitou Lake in record-setting centennial event

When it comes to the light show, McFarlane said the setting adds to the scene.

“The fireworks are shot off over the lake with people and the audience on the other side. We get the show up in the sky, the reflection off the water, and depending on where you’re at in the [Pipestone] Valley – you actually get the echo of the sound of the fireworks.
Performers took the stage in 2018s event as part of activities spanning the two days.
Performers took the stage in 2018s event as part of activities spanning the two days. Kim Poole/The World-Spectator

“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.

Story continues below advertisement
“[In general] we don’t think of ourselves as multi-cultural communities in rural areas- we think of that taking place in cities. It allows us to be closer to the people who have immigrated to Canada more recently,” he said.

“It’s great for the community to come together with events like this and it just makes us stronger.”

taylor.braat@globalnews.ca