As Vancouverites prepare for the final two nights of the 2012 Honda Celebration of Light this week, the Vancouver Police Department is describing the first night as a success.
Four weapons, including a bow and arrow, were seized Saturday evening during the first night of the fireworks.
Liquor enforcement was the goal for several Metro Vancouver police agencies, which placed officers along both SkyTrain and Canada Line routes in Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey and New Westminster. According to the VPD, the enforcement resulted in 628 liquor pour-outs, an increase from 605 for 2011.
Opting for an old school approach, the VPD phoned the parents of intoxicated youth. Police also wrote six tickets for bylaw infractions, made 14 liquor seizures and issued 87 violations for a variety of offences. Five people were arrested for breach of the peace and three for being intoxicated in public.
"There were a few alcohol-related disturbances throughout the evening and as crowds cleared out of the downtown core following the event, but no incidents of note," Const. Lindsey Houghton said in a press release. "Despite the amount of liquor, the event was overwhelmingly positive and family-oriented."
Houghton told the Courier Monday a young man with a bow and arrow voluntarily relinquished it after police officers pointed out the fireworks festival wasn't the best place for such a weapon. Police let the young man carry on and no charges were laid.
Following the fireworks Saturday night, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre was called out in response to a boating accident at Third Beach, which resulted in two people falling overboard. The boaters each suffered serious damage to the faces after the boat they were travelling in hit a rock at high speed. The unidentified pair was rescued by Kitsilano coast guard vessels before being transported to hospital by ambulance.
Team Da Nang from Vietnam launched the annual fireworks festival Saturday, which according to Vancouver Fire and Rescue drew more than 300,000 spectators to city's beaches. It was the first time Team Da Nang has performed outside Vietnam. The country's flag waved atop a specialized barge anchored in English Bay during a visit by the Courier Friday.
During the tour, Patrick Brault, owner and producer with Sirius Pyrotechnics, explained new wider barges are being used this year allowing teams more space to spread out, which translates to more dramatic fireworks displays.
"It's a better sandbox to play in," Brault told media.
He added the barge holds 350 tonnes of sand onto which each team loads another 1.5 to two-tonnes of fireworks. A nearby barge acts as storage for upcoming shows, which means about six tonnes of pyrotechnics between both barges.
The day of the Courier's visit, Team Da Nang was busy placing highly explosive containers of pyrotechnics along the front of the barge.
During an interview Friday morning, Team Da Nang's choreographer Bui Chi Duc spoke to media through translator Thuy-Anh Nguyen. Chi Duc explained his team's display would celebrate the culture of Vietnam.
"I think that's the difference between our team and other teams," said Chi Duc. "We'd like to bring the typical cultures of our nation to the show."
Vietnam's display is followed by Brazil Aug. 1 and Italy Aug. 4. In an attempt to keep the festival fresh, organizers want to showcase nine different countries over the next three years, with Canada likely to perform again in 2013 or 2014. For more information visit hondacelebrationoflight.com or download the Honda Celebration of Light app for iOS and Android.