On Friday 16 December, the Mayor of Pattaya, Khun Itipon, officially launched the much awaited Pattaya International Firework Competition. The two-day event was held in the beautiful beach resort of Pattaya Thailand and with a host of other firework events throughout December, gave it claim to being the firework capital of the world.

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Teams from nine different countries participated in the competition which was held as part of His Majesty’s 84th birthday celebrations. It has been estimated that over 20,000 fireworks were launched during the two-day competition. The fireworks were launched from floating platforms in Pattaya Bay rather than the normal Bali Hai Pier.

On the opening day of the competition, tens of thousands of tourists entered the city to watch in awe at the fantastic display put on by the contestants. Beach Road was closed early and the three major roads into the city became one-way streets.  Tourists used every vantage point to give them a better view and many of them enjoyed the show as they sat in one of the numerous restaurants located on Walking Street and Pattaya Beach. Hundreds more made their way to Pratamnuk Mountain where they enjoyed the display from Pattaya Viewpoint.

The finale, held on the Saturday evening, was undoubtedly the highlight of the event which saw the simultaneous launch of seven 24-inch fireworks. The spectacular pyrotechnic show covered three kilometres of the beachfront and demonstrated to the world that Pattaya is indeed a world class city when it comes to organising an international firework contest. These seven fireworks symbolised the end of His Majesty’s seventh cycle birthday on 5 December. The organisers estimated that more than 10,000 fireworks were launched on Saturday, providing Pattaya with a display seldom seen anywhere in the world.

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This year’s competition was the fifth to be held in the city and was the biggest to date. On the opening night, the event lasted a full three hours with the most dazzling array of explosions and patterns filling the night sky. Although hotly contested, the winning team came from the United States whose astounding display won ovations from the crowds and accolades from the judging panel.

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The fireworks do not end with the competition; in keeping with its growing reputation as a world-class city, Pattaya is host to the longest New Year celebrations in the Kingdom. Starting on 25 December until 31 December there are nightly celebrations and fireworks displays on Bali Hai Pier from 8pm until midnight. As well as food and goods being sold from booths set up along the beach road, there is entertainment to suit the tastes of everyone with traditional Thai songs and dance at the forefront.  The week-long celebrations culminates on 31 December in the biggest fireworks display of all, which organisers say is lighting up the whole of the seafront and be seen throughout the city and way beyond.

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