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Biggest ever fireworks display as Bridgetown, county celebrate Canada 150


Published on June 21, 2017

Canada Day in Bridgetown includes a whole day of events at Jubilee Park, capped with the famous fireworks display that this year will be twice as big.

©Lawrence Powell

BRIDGETOWN - You know those famous fireworks at Jubilee Park in Bridgetown every Canada Day? This year they’re doubling it.

In fact, Bridgetown Volunteer Fire Department Captain Daniel Cheeseman said this will be the largest fireworks display Bridgetown has ever seen. And on Canada Day, most people in Annapolis County who want to cap off July 1 in style head to Bridgetown to take in the annual display.

It’s a tradition.

“The Bridgetown Volunteer Fire Department has had a Fireworks Team dating back to the 1980s and not only has it been a tradition in the department but gives members a sense of pride for our community,” said Cheeseman.

Team members are trained and certified as Display Assistants or Display Supervisors under the Explosives Regulatory Division of Natural Resources Canada. While some firefighters only work the Canada Day show in Bridgetown, others have worked on other shows with other crews around the province including the Natal Day Fireworks Show in Halifax.

“It gives an opportunity for crew members to learn new techniques and build skill and knowledge,” Cheeseman said. He’s a Display Assistant. “Fireworks are inherently dangerous. If handled incorrectly things can go downhill in a hurry. We as team members work methodically and cautiously -- so much as a static shock on a fuse can ignite them. In fact so much as a pair of scissors can generate a static discharge and cause an ignition. Needless to say you never find scissors around fireworks sites.”

The Show

Bridgetown’s fireworks shows generally consist of ‘Shells’ and ‘Cakes,’ said Cheeseman. Shells are the classic ball or cylindrical fireworks that are loaded into mortars to be shot out. Cakes are set on the ground and secured in place and can contain as many as 360 individual shots that fire in a pre-determined sequence over a period of 20 to 60 seconds and generally shoot to a height of 50-metre. Shells are generally a one- to two-shot effect that travel high into the air. They can range in size from 50 milimetres (two inches) to 300 milimetres (12 inches).

“The largest shell we’re allowed on the Bridgetown site, due to safety exclusion zones, is 127 milimetres – or five inches,” he said, noting these can travel more than 180 metres into the air before the burst charge ignites. That makes it dangerous, not only to firefighters but to anyone who wonders into the exclusion zones – including boaters on the Annapolis River.

“Because we have our own team, we like to take our time setting up for the fireworks. This involves placement of mortars and site prep starting in the afternoon and leads up to loading and placement of the fireworks,” he said.

They set up on the south side of the river and spectators watch from the park.

Due to the type of explosives that professional grade fireworks are, once the fireworks arrive on the site, no one except the certified fireworks crew is allowed to be on site.

“The exclusion zone has always been there, but due to the increase of river activity we wanted to make it known that the river actually falls within the exclusion zone,” said Cheeseman. “The exclusion zone does include the fields that we are in and extends back to the tracks and for everyone’s safety we need spectators to remain out of the fields around the firing site and out of the exclusion zone on the river because at the end of the day, these are explosives.”

Cheeseman said the fire department always provides its services for free so that as much of the budget as possible can be used for the fireworks themselves.

Other Events

While the fireworks are the star attraction in Bridgetown, residents and visitors to Bridgetown will have lots of other ways to celebrate Canada’s 150 anniversary of Confederation all day on July 1. There’s music, food, dancing, cake, children’s activities, and the official welcome.

A special event this year will be the official opening of the community’s new floating dock.

It’s a Bridgetown and Annapolis County day and all events are at Jubilee Park except the Centennial Pool Open House.

Take a look ate some of what’s planned:

Schedule:

Bridgetown and Annapolis County celebrate Canada Day with all-day music, food, the official opening of the Jubilee Park Floating Dock, cake cutting and a load of cupcakes, children’s activities, and of course the firework display that will be double of what it has been in the past.

-- 8 to10 a.m. -- Pancake Breakfast, Free Will Offering

-- 10 to 11 a.m. -- Ecumenical Church Service

-- 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Music, Caleb Mills

-- 12 to 2 p.m. -- Children’s Activities -- Carnival games, Scavenger hunt and more!

-- 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. – Music, Kevin Davison

-- 2 to 4 p.m. – Free open house at Centennial Pool

-- 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. – Music, Electric Shock Therapy

-- 4 to 7 p.m. -- Catered food at the Park. D’Aubin’s Family Meats with pulled pork sliders and Chantelle Webb with haddock bahji and onion bahji

-- 4 to 6:30 p.m. -- Children’s Activities -- Carnival Games, Face painting and more!

-- 6 p.m. to Dusk -- Canada Day Canteen – proceeds to minor hockey

-- 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. – Welcome, cake-cutting, and official opening of Jubilee Floating Dock

-- 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. -- Mary’s Islanders dance Troupe 

-- 8:30 to 10:00 p.m. – Music, Crash and Burn

-- Dusk -- Fireworks