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Calgary’s GlobalFest Fireworks Festival a multi-cultural explosion

WATCH: While it’s known for its fireworks, GlobalFest also provides visitors with a cultural feast of food, music and tradtions. Deb Matejicka reports.

The best of the best will be at GlobalFest.

Former show winner, the United States, will get things going on Thursday night.

Each team competing in the 17th annual fireworks extravaganza, in fact, is a former pyrotechnic champion and each will be bringing a bigger boom this year.

“We upped our budget this year with our teams,” said GlobalFest producer Ken Goosen.

Teams from Canada, China, Spain and the U.S. were given more money to work with under the strict condition they add more of the bigger, 12-inch shells (the tubular casings containing the explosive fireworks material) to their shows.

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They are the biggest shells legally allowed in Canada.

“The mortars are buried in four feet of sand and so it lifts about 1,000 feet, it breaks about 1,500 feet across. So that’s massive,” said Goosen, explaining the light display produced by the 12-inch shells.

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By comparison, the largest shells used by the Calgary Stampede in their nightly grandstand show are just four inches in diameter.

READ MORE: GlobalFest 2018: Fireworks expected to shoot through smoky skies over Calgary

Though the fireworks show creates the biggest (and loudest) boom at GlobalFest, it’s really just one smaller part of the two-week festival.

The multitude of pavilions, the variety of foods and the culturally diverse stage performances make up the bulk of what GlobalFest is really about.

“It’s very important for us here at GlobalFest to celebrate our diversity in Calgary and bring together a variety of different cultures in one location, so that the guests who attend our festival have the opportunity to learn a little bit about the different cultures that are our neighbours here in Calgary,” said Wendy Wilson, GlobalFest’s artistic and cultural director.

WATCH: Blake Lough talks to GlobalFest producer Ken Goosan ahead of the first night of the 2019 edition of the festival. Goosan has been with the festival since its inception.

GlobalFest producer talks fireworks
GlobalFest producer talks fireworks

Wilson added that guests are provided with a passport to explore over 20 cultural pavilions displaying ornaments, art and various other items unique to the country represented at each one.

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For more than a decade, Niyanta Kotecha, who is originally from India, has come to celebrate her culture at GlobaFest’s One World Festival.

She said she enjoys learning about other countries as much as she enjoys teaching others about India.

“Each and every country, they explain about the tradition, the culture and the best thing, when it comes to the language, one language,” said Kotecha.

Kaew McKinnon beams when she talks about her homeland of Thailand.

“I’m really thankful to GlobalFestival to show our culture… our Thai dance and everything, and I can see a lot of culture here — different, we’re different, different but makes me so proud,” said McKinnon.

Thirty ethnic food booths and concessions also add flavour to GlobalFest’s international taste while two stages provide near non-stop musical acts and dance performances.

Living up to its name, the One World Festival rounds out its long list of multi-cultural offerings to include an annual citizenship ceremony.

This year, GlobalFest will welcome 100 new Canadians at Elliston Park.