Coney Island fires up the night for third year


Photo by Lizzie Kibler.

Fireworks brighten the sky during Coney Island’s Fire Up the Night event.

Blues, reds, and golds illuminate the night sky at Coney Island’s Fire Up the Night event. This is Coney Island’s third year hosting the international fireworks competition on Saturday, Sept. 27.

Japan took home first place in the competition, competing against Spain and Germany this year.

“I voted for Japan,” NKU student Kelsey Bungenstock said. “They clearly put a lot into their display. They went out with a bang!”

According to Coney Island’s website, “The inaugural ‘Fire Up the Night’ in 2012 was the first fireworks competition ever held in the United States.”

The competing teams from that year were the United States, Mexico and Canada, with Canada winning first place. In 2013, Portugal won against France and Italy.

But there was more to the event than just the fireworks. Paper lanterns hung in the trees while a man with an accordion played in the Biergarten. Near the drained Sunlite Pool were the colorful spinning dresses of the Spanish Flamenco Dancers.

The Moonlite Pavilion was filled with music from the Sakura Ladies’ Choir and the SJM Children’s Chorus. Along with some traditional Japanese music, songs like “Firework” by Katy Perry and  Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” were performed by some of the younger singers.

A tea station served free cups of green tea in the traditional Japanese manner. Next to it a small Japanese flea market selling fans and sumo wrestler dolls. Another display showed an authentic Japanese high school uniform, dolls, and even Japanese strawberry Kit-Kats.

The night ended with the fireworks competition. Spain opened up the display with the song “Tango de Roxanne.” Japan followed with an array of techno music that fit with the the flow of the fireworks. Lastly, Germany came in to the tune of “Sandstorm” by Darude. The fireworks worked to match the fast pace of the song.

During the competition, patrons sent in their votes for the winner via text. There was also a five-judge panel that helped choose the winner, which was announced after Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks set off their finale.

Japan’s team, Hanabi Yokohama Co., led by Mitsu Takahashi received many congratulations. “Oh, thank you!” Takahashi said. “But he helped,” mentioning one of several Rozzi’s employees that helped him during the competition.

It’s currently unknown which teams will be participating in the 2015 competition.