Tuesday, 9 September 2008

A Festival of Lights - Silkeborg Ildfestregatta

A few of the colours of Silkeborg Ildfestregatta

Every three or four years my beautiful home town of Silkeborg, Denmark, celebrates the so called "Ildfestregatta" centred around the town harbour. It's a festival which mixes Silkeborg's freshwater-maritime traditions with the celebration of light in different forms: Coloured lights spread around town, creek and lakes and Silkeborg playing host to the Danish championships in fireworks - it's all a bit reminiscient of the Hindu festival of lights: Diwali.

Even nature can provide some really cool light and colours. Sunset over Silkeborg Langsø ("Long Lake")

Throughout the regatta-week the town fills up with hundreds of thousands of people, who enjoy music shows, the thrill rides of the traveling tivoli or the nature in daytime, before the real party starts at night. The fleet of ships led by the oldest paddle steamer in the world, Hjejlen, will sail out on the surrounding lakes, enjoying the lights which have been hung all by the waterside. When they come back to the harbour after dark the scene is set for another fireworks factory to put up an enormous show to try to earn thye prestigeous title.

Some pictures from the party below, including a series from the fireworks competition in the end. I know it's hard to show fireworks in pictures, but I hope it gives a bit of an impression of the grandeur of these shows - they really are quite breathtaking at times:

Nitoli in front of the travelling tivoli.

A small concert - one of many, all over town

The fleet arriving in Silkeborg Harbour on the last day of the regatta

Decorated house, reflected in the lake

More lights by the water

The travelling tivoli seen from across the lake, with the full moon covered behind a few plants in the top right corner.

Girl watching the fireworks from the Silkeborg side.

More fireworks seen from Silkeborg side

A huge explosion seen from the other side of the lake looking towards Silkeborg. Notice how small the 5-6 storey city hall building is compared to the fireworks. Truly breathtaking.

The big finale. Wow!

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