Fireworks from Semenoff Stadium lit up the sky on Guy Fawkes Night. Photo / Michael Cunningham
A fireworks display in Whangārei was so popular that people had to be admitted for free, as ticket sellers could not keep up with demand.
About 10,000 people attended the Whangārei Lions Fireworks Spectacular at Semenoff Stadium on Saturday night, the first since 2019.
Organizer Terry Ward of the Whangārei Lions Club said around 9,000 tickets were sold but some people were able to enter for free after the doors opened.
“I would estimate that about 1,000 or 1,500 people came in who wouldn’t have seen it otherwise. They would have stood outside.”
The Guy Fawkes event, which raises money for charity, has been held since 1995, and Ward said it’s at least as big as anything they’ve ever had.
“It was a great night – a very successful night. We haven’t been able to have it for the past two years due to the pandemic, and last year we got swept away.”
The crowd was very pleased with the fireworks this year, Ward said, and were extremely patient.
“The audience was also great and patient to get in. We just couldn’t sell tickets or get them through the system any faster.”
Ward estimated that they raised around $30,000 through the event for charity, but the organizations had a number of costs, including an increase in the amount paid to the council for the use of Semenoff Stadium.
“They [Whangārei District Council] funded $5,000, and got the rest with help from the Oxford Trust, who provided the fireworks. Without them, we couldn’t do it.”
Ward said he had a team of around eight people to organize the event, with support from other organisations, including NZME.
The Lions Club, however, was struggling with additional costs and a lack of manpower.
Young people haven’t joined Lions Clubs in recent years, Ward said, and members of the fireworks organizing committee were all over 65.
He encouraged people to join the club, which raises millions of dollars nationwide for charity each year.
“They’re fun-loving, hard-working guys who care about their community and do a lot for it,” Ward said.
Anyone seeking more information about the Whangārei Lions Club can visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WhangareiLionsClub.