New festival a hit

By in News

News Editor

The city skies were alight with explosions on Labour Day weekend as the Saskatoon Fireworks Festival marked the end of summer.

According to festival producer Kim Ali attendance was around 38,000 for Friday and 40,000 on Saturday night.

After the success of this year’s festival, On Purpose Leadership, the company that organizes it, is striving to make it an annual event as long as they can keep securing funding.

“Of course it’s always dependent on funding. It will happen again as long as the funders come on board again,” said Ali.

The festival is funded by a number of sponsors including Tourism Saskatoon, CUPE and Sasktel.

Ali says their goal is to keep the festival free.

“In other cities this is something you pay for,” she said.

Ali identified Labour Day as a key weekend for the event, in part because there are no other festivals happening then.

“We want to have something happening that weekend; all the students are coming into town and it’s the last weekend of summer,” said Ali.

Since there were festivities on each side of the river, this year organizers brought in a water taxi to shuttle people from park to park. The money earned from the water taxi went to Interval House, a temporary emergency shelter for women and children requiring safe accommodation.

Another new feature this year was a bike valet service.

“We did our best to make sure all the students coming into Saskatoon were able to come down and enjoy it,” Ali said.

The festival organizers delayed the fireworks an hour on Friday to 10:30 to ensure it didn’t conflict with the Huskies football game.

Chico Ruggieri, who runs Ruggieri fireworks, had been trying to organize a festival in Saskatoon for years.

He says their Friday show took several weeks to prepare. The company invited Winnipeg-based Archangel Fireworks to put on Saturday’s show.

“Everybody from across Canada has their own special way of shooting fireworks shows, so it’s good to have some variety,” he said.

photo Raisa Pezderic