DA NANG — The coldness of a sudden monsoon couldn't dampen the enthusiasm of tens of thousands of people who elbowed themselves into the crowd along the Han River on Saturday night for the start of a two-day international fireworks competition in the central city of Da Nang.
Fireworks light up the night sky above the Han River in the central city of Da Nang. The French fireworks team won the first prize at the festival. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Ha
At 8.35pm the crowd burst into applause after municipal People's Committee chairman Tran Van Minh declared the contest open to celebrate the city's liberation day and the 1,000th anniversary of capitalHa Noi.
The water and sky were lit up by the magnificent fireworks representing "The Legend of Han River", in harmony with a variety of music.
Thirty-five imperial boats representing the number of years since the city's liberation sailed around garlands of flowers and coloured lanterns.
Five teams from France, Japan, Portugal, the US and host Da Nang-Viet Nam took part in the festival.
Competitors promised to bring something special to this years event with performances based on famous folk tales of dragons and ferries and they didn't disappoint.
Audiences on Saturday were treated to a free and easy Portugal, a Japanese philosophy of peace and hope and a Viet Nam full of vitality. Yesterday's performances also displayed a merry US soul and a romantic France despite quite heavy rain.
Members of the audience who didn't manage to get a seat in the 26,000 capacity grand stand took up positions wherever they could – on balconies, on fences and even in trees.
Signs advertising views of the fireworks were seen in most hotels and restaurants along the river, but there were no vacancies by the evening.
Photographer Trinh Thong Thien said it was very hard for him to take pictures from the Han River swing-bridge because there was not enough room.
Local people said their hearts quickened as they watched the performance echo out the nation's four-thousand-year history, especially on such an important occasion for the country in general and the city in particular.
From 4pm, locals and tourists were seen walking along the streets of Da Nang heading for the city centre where the fireworks festival was to take place.
"We would walk even further to enjoy the performance," a walker told a Viet Nam News reporter about four kilometres away from the river. "The atmosphere will be great."
Some even attended the event on an empty stomach. "I'd rather forget about my dinner than miss a wonderful fireworks party like this," said a young man who sat on the roadside after the show, with a bottle of water and a loaf of bread in his hands. "We watched the performances last year and the desire to enjoy them again was more than enough to lure us back to this coastal city," said a group of tourists from HCM City.
"The city has it's own unique way of holding an event, and fireworks festivals have become synonymous with Da Nang and it's cultural and tourism products that promote its image to tourists both at home and abroad," they said.
The Da Nang Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism said the enormous number of people that attended the event, estimated at 70,000, was good for the city's tourism industry that has targeted more than VND1 trillion (US$54 million) in total turnover for tourism related areas this year. — VNS