Your guide to Norfolk’s Bonfire Night fun
Bonfire NIght is upon us and many families will be hosting their bonfire parties and firework displays. SIMON PARKIN offers tips to make sure your celebrations are safe and go with a bang. Plus a guide to the best places to see the skies light up.
Grab your coat, hats and gloves because it's fireworks time. And while there are loads of organised displays taking place across Norfolk, many people will be planning their own Bonfire Night celebrations.
A Guy Fawkes atop the fire, hot dogs, toffee apples, baked potatoes, then light the blue touch paper and stand well back as the sky explodes in a riot of colour and noise.
Whether you are planning a firework spectacular for family and friends or a group display for a club or organisation — remember, remember, you need to make sure it's properly planned.
Not only are fireworks dangerous — from the humble sparkler to the biggest rocket — there are also strict rules covering their sale and use. So to help those planning on making sure November 5 goes with a bang here's a guide that will guarantee you a banger of a night.
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To get the boring rules and regulations out of the way first. All fireworks on sale should comply with the British Standard BS7114, and should be marked as such. You should reject any that don't, or any that are in plain white wrappers.
People holding parties in their back garden should make sure they check their household insurance policies for a 'duty of care' clause. If you are arranging an event where you are charging people for entry, you should consider obtaining specialist cover before lighting the blue paper.
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Now you know what the rules are, how do you make sure the event isn't a damp squib? A good display will have a firing order, that is, a list of which fireworks will be set off when. It's often best to start off small, maybe with fountains, which are not very noisy, but pretty, and then build up to the bigger and noisier rockets.
The fireworks code (see below) advises that you keep each firework in a box and set up and light them individually. However this can make for a pretty unsatisfactory stop/start display.
A better option is using something called a single ignition firework (SIF) or a 'display in a box'. These not only avoid people getting bored watching one firework going off at a time, they also tend to be safer because, rather than lighting each firework individually, they're all lit in one go.
Displays in a box are essentially roman-candle-based, aerial fireworks bound with one fuse, timed to go off one after another with the biggest going off last.
The type of display, the colours and number of times fireworks are fired skywards depends on the type of box you buy, but they can last from 30 seconds up to several minutes. They're generally far more impressive than individ-ual fireworks, but you do need a garden where you can be 25m away from the action.
They are also more expensive, though there are options to suit most pockets. Inevitably, the more you spend the bigger the bang, so it is often worth pooling resources with family, friends and neighbours. Not only does this mean you have more to spend, but it's also more fun 'ooh' and 'aahing' at a bigger party.
Whatever you decide to go with, go to a specialist firework shop. These are staffed by people with real expertise. Remember to have safety gloves and goggles on hand and make sure you've a torch to stop you using a match to look at the instructions.
However with all manner of bonfire parties and public firework displays — large and small, happening all over the county in the next week or so, there is no need to resort to DIY garden fizzling.
Two of the biggest displays — the Sparks In The Park event at Earlham Park and After Dark, Fireworks and Fun-fair at Norfolk Showground — both this year take place on Bonfire Night proper, tomorrow night.
Both are again expected to draw large crowds and offer a full programme of bonfire night entertainment as well as the truly impressive professionally produced firework displays.
Sparks In The Park has grown into one of the biggest such events in the region. Led by Norwich City Council's events team, it boasts two firework displays, live music and a fun fair and is one of the city's biggest family nights out — and literally one of the brightest.
This year Kimbolton Fireworks, the company behind the spectacular 2011 New Year display off the London Eye, will light the fuse on two firework displays — 6.30pm children's fireworks and the Big Bang at 8pm.
Around 1,800 individual firework firing cues will set off some 2,000 fireworks and launch 16,000 projectiles into the sky. The fireworks will weigh in at a whopping 2.5 tons.
Other events on the night will include a burning Guy Fawkes, a funfair and the Heart soundstage.
Helen Selleck, the council's events manager, said: 'The Big Bang Fireworks will be exactly that – a really fantastic display to wow the crowds. But so the little ones aren't left out, we've got a less noisy, but no less colourful, display earlier on.'
Last year's After Dark display at Norfolk Showground attracted 10,000 people and was one of the longest fireworks displays set to music seen in the county.
This year's event will see the children's display kicking off at 6.30pm. Twisted Piglet provide the live music at 7.45pm and the main display, set to blockbuster theme tunes, starts at 8.45pm.
A spokesperson for After Dark said: 'Last year's main display lasted well over 20 minutes and was enjoyed by thousands of people.
'The introduction of live music was also a huge success.
'We aim to keep on improving the whole experience. We are already one of the best value major displays in Norfolk and this year, for the first time, we have offered early booking savings of up to �1.50 per person.'
n Sparks in The Park tickets on the night are �7.50, �4.50 children, under-4s free. Gates open 5pm.
n After Dark tickets on the night are �6, �5 under-12s, under-4s free, parking is free. Gates open 4pm. www.afterdarkpromotionsltd.co.uk
SPARKS WILL FLY — BONFIRE NIGHT FUN
30th Norwich Scout Group Bonfire and Firework Display
Tusting Close, School Lane, Sprowston, November 4, gates open 6.30pm, �4 on the gate, �3.50 advance.
Traditional bonfire and firework display organised annually by the scouts and always offering the best of Guy Fawkes night fun and entertainment. The fire will be lit at 7pm, fireworks start at 7.30pm (with interval). Hot food and drinks available. Don't take your own fireworks!
Wymondham Rugby Club Fireworks
Tuttles Lane, Wymondham, November 4, gates open 6.30pm, �4 on the gate, �2 children.
Fireworks display night with light show. Bar, refreshments, traditional bonfire treats and children's rides. The fireworks start at 7.30pm. Hot dogs and burgers, a licensed bar, hot drinks and mulled wine are all for sale on the night.
Bawburgh Bonfire Night
Bawburgh Village Hall, November 4, gates open at 6pm, �3 on the gate, �1.50 under-12s, under-5s free.
Community-friendly Bonfire Night gathering that include a children's fancy dress competition at 6.30pm, lighting of the bonfire at 7pm and fireworks at 7.30pm. Licenced bar, barbecue and mulled wine.
The Lighthouse Inn, Coast Road, Walcott, November 4, gates open 5.30pm, �6.50 on the gate, �20 family tickets (two adults, two children).
Traditional Bonfire Night party with two separate fireworks displays. The children's display starts at 7.15pm with the second, main display at 8.15pm. Children's entertainer Dave Doughnut will be performing between 6pm-9pm, while clowns Razz and Aunty Pearl will performing in the large marquee between 6pm-9pm.
2nd Hellesdon Scout Group Fireworks
Firside Junior School, Middletons Lane, Helledon, November 5, gates open 6.30pm, �4 on the gate, under-4s free.
Another scout-run traditional Bonfire Night with all that entails. Two firework displays, the first at 7.30pm, followed by a second at 8.45pm. Barbecue, tombola, fruit shy, smashing crockery, swing boats and many more side shows. No alcohol, fireworks or sparklers to be brought on site.
Fireworks at The Farm
Elm Farm, Horsham-St-Faiths, November 5, gates open 6pm, �12 on the gate, �6 under-14s, under-5s free.
Bonfire, family fun and fireworks display, starting at 7.30pm. Entry price includes all-you-can-eat barbecue and hog roast.
Bonfire & Fireworks
Little Plumstead Village Hall, November 5, gates 6pm, �3.50 on the gate, �2 children.
Little Plumstead Village Hall and the 1st Great and Little Plumstead Scouts host their traditional bonfire and fireworks display at the Recreation Ground, Sandhole Lane. The scouts will be supplying hot food, warm and soft drinks and there will also be a licensed bar.
Bonfire and Fireworks
Norwich Family Life Church, Heartsease Lane Site, Heartsease, November 5, �5 on the gate, �2 under-16s, under-3s free.
Two fireworks displays, the first at 6.45pm is low noise and aimed at young children. Traditional bonfire fun, food stalls, entertainment, fairground rides and local band.
1st Spixworth Scout Group Firework Display
Grange Farm, Buxton Road, Spixworth, November 5, gates open 6pm, �3.50 on the gate, �2.50 under-14s, under-5s free, free parking.
More busy scouts as the 1st Spixworth hold their annual event, with two firework displays. The bonfire will be lit at 6.30pm, the fireworks at 7.15pm and 8.15pm. There will also be a barbecue, refreshments and side stalls. Bring a torch but no fireworks or sparklers on site.
Fakenham Racecourse, November 5, gates open 5pm, �15 per car (max. five people).
Last year 5,500 people attended this major fireworks display and family friendly evening at Fakenham Racecourse. You can again expect thousands of pounds' worth of fireworks to go up in spectacular noise and colour at 6.30pm. This year money raised will help support Scotty's Little Soldiers charity.
Seashore Holiday Park, North Drive, Great Yarmouth, gates open 5pm, �5 on the gate.
A spectacular firework display commencing at 6.45pm approximately with entertainment featuring fairground rides, amusements, food and a licensed bar from 5pm.
Stock Car Racing Firework Night
Yarmouth Stadium, November 6, �12 (�10 cons), �6 children, under-4s free, �35 family.
Mix your Bonfire Night fun with some high speed hi-jinks at this latest stock car meeting at Yarmouth Stadium. Entertainment starts at 5pm.
t Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114.
t Don't drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
t Keep fireworks in a closed box.
t Follow the instructions on each firework.
t Light at arm's length, using a taper.
t Stand well back.
t Never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it hasn't gone off, it could still explode.
t Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.
t Always supervise children around fireworks.
t Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.
t Never give sparklers to under-5s.
t Keep pets indoors.