Magazine article Sunset

Saturday Spectacles in Butchart Gardens

Magazine article Sunset

Saturday Spectacles in Butchart Gardens

Article excerpt

Your head tilts back farther as showers of shooting stars explode higher and higher. Clusters of light burst and multiply into still more elaborate configurations.

Sure, you've seen fireworks before, but this show, at Butchart Gardens north of Victoria, B.C., combines fire, water, light, poetry, and music in a dazzling array. Weekly programs begin on Saturday, July 6, and continue through August 31.

Designed by the garden and the renowned French firm of Ruggieri, masters of pyrotechnics for nearly 250 years--from the wedding of Louis XV's daughter in 1739 to the 1976 Bicentennial in Washington, D.C.--each season's presentation is fresh and original. Shows began here in 1978.

Butchart's show draws on the centuries-old European tradition of fireworks as public entertainment in pleasure gardens. Where most major North American fireworks are presented in urban environments for large crowds, at Butchart the backdrop is entirely natural. Instead of constantly focusing attention overhead, Butchart also uses ground-level fireworks to illuminate the woodsy surroundings.

Music is vital--a fast-paced blend of heroic film scores, marches, and sound effects known as whistling bees, hissing silver jets, and the like.

Arrive early, picnic on the grounds

Show times vary with each performance--from 10 on July 6 to 8:30 on August 31--as the sun sets earlier. Costs given are rounded off in U.S. dollars.

Admission to the gardens (open daily 9 A. …

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