Night sky's the limit for birthday bash

Night sky's the limit for birthday bash

Canberrans will return to the lake in their thousands for a second hit of fireworks in less than a week.

Saturday night's annual Skyfire event could draw as many as 130,000 to Lake Burley Griffin.

The Royal Australian Navy 723 Squadron helicopter display team rehearses for Skyfire 25 over Lake Burley Griffin.

The Royal Australian Navy 723 Squadron helicopter display team rehearses for Skyfire 25 over Lake Burley Griffin.Credit:Jeffrey Chan

First held in 1988, the event is marking its 25th birthday and will feature more than 40,000 individual pyrotechnic effects, including 2500 shells and 25,000 shooting comets.

The fireworks are digitally launched, with 25 tonnes of equipment including two six-metre shipping containers of pyrotechnics.


A crew of 16 spent 750 hours designing and preparing the event, sponsored by FM radio station 104.7.

Popular music acts Samantha Jade and The Collective headline a free concert at the Skyfire Stage at Regatta Point.

Performances will get under way at 6pm, with displays by the Federation Guard, Navy Squirrels and the Snowy Hydro Rescue Helicopter.

Lake Burley Griffin will go dark at 8.27pm with a three-minute countdown to the fireworks display.

Organisers say the best vantage points for the event include Regatta Point, The Carillon, Mount Ainslie, the Red Hill Lookout and Mount Pleasant.

Food for the event will be on sale at Regatta Point, Rond Terraces, Kings Park, Parkes Place and outside the National Library.

The ACT RSPCA recommends pet owners keep animals inside during Skyfire, due to sound causing some animals to become distressed.

Some roads and car parks around Lake Burley Griffin and Commonwealth Park will be closed from 7am until after the event.

ACTION buses will run extra services to Regatta Point from Belconnen, Civic and Woden bus stations, as well as from The Marketplace in Gungahlin.

Between 4-7.30pm services will depart every 30 minutes from Gungahlin and Belconnen (Platform 1), every 10 minutes from the City (Platform 1) and every 20 minutes from Woden (Platform 10). Regular fares will apply.

At the Tuggeranong Bus Station (Platform 8), the regular Route 900 will depart every 15 minutes to the Belconnen Community Bus Station via the City and Woden bus stations.

A free return shuttle service will operate after the fireworks taking passengers to Belconnen, City, Woden and Tuggeranong bus stations, as well as The Marketplace in Gungahlin, between 9 pm and 10.30 pm.

ACT Policing has warned it will run regular patrols along the lakeshore. Last year 12 teenagers were taken into custody for alcohol-related offences, including a 16-year-old boy who had a blood alcohol reading of 0.315.

A ''youth reception area'' will be set up in the Skyfire precinct. Under-age drinkers will be taken into custody and held there while police try to contact their parents or guardians.

Tom McIlroy is a political reporter for The Australian Financial Review in the federal press gallery at Parliament House.

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