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New Year’s Eve celebrations a threat to defending fireworks champion

December 31, 2015 - WORLD

The tiny town of Søgne in Norway snatched the Guinness record for the largest fireworks display from Dubai in Nov 2014, and New Year's Eve 2015 gives the emirate an opportunity to win it back.

Kuwait, Sydney, Auckland, Hong Kong and other cities that take great pride in their New Year celebration fireworks might also choose to take on Søgne's record. The annual contest opens the possibility for an accompanying record - the number of high-tech feats required to put on the show.

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution on Nov 29, 2014, Søgne, a town of only 10,000 people, fired off 540,382 fireworks. The display was held to mark and to celebrate Søgne's traditional switching on of the Christmas lights. The number broke Dubai's 31 Dec 2013 record of 479,651 fireworks, which lit up the sky over the Palm Jumeirah and The World Islands. Enough fireworks were launched in the first minute of the Dubai display to break the previous record, set by Kuwait in 2011 with its hour-long show of 77,282 fireworks.

Fireworks are still made by hand, but high tech has found its way into other key functions of the centuries-old craft. Today's displays require computing horsepower to choreograph the precise timing, height and direction of aerial explosions that deliver dazzling effects, often synchronized to music. U.S. firm Fireworks by Grucci designed the record-setting Dubai display, Guinness said, using 100 computers and 200 technicians to synchronize the pyrotechnics at a reported cost of around U.S. $6 million.

Dubai loses fireworks world record to tiny town in Norway (7 Days 7 Dec 2014)

Official: Dubai smashes largest fireworks display world record (Guinness Records)

Free Press 29 Jun 2012)

Date written/update: 2015-07-15