Oooohers and aaaahers out in force as Markeaton Park's firework event goes with bang
Markeaton Park came alive as thousands of people watched this year’s bonfire and fireworks display. Reporter Chris Jones joined them.
AS the chanted countdown from ten began, thousands of eager faces turned to the skies above Markeaton Park.
When it finally hit one, a spray of sparkling trails were joined with a boom so loud you could feel it in your chest.
All around the park, people erupted into cheers and applause; the show had begun.
Derby’s biggest free bonfire and firework display took place in Markeaton Park last night and it seemed like half the city was there to see it.
The grounds started filling up from long before the bonfire was lit at 5.45pm.
Among the crowd was Mark Lee, of Mackworth.
He was there with his wife, Sam, daughter Holly, eight, and son Stuart, six.
He said his family had only recently moved from Nottinghamshire and this was the first time they had seen the Derby display.
He said: “When the kids were younger, we used to have fireworks in the back garden but this is something else.
“It’s a really big show. There wasn’t anything like it in Nottinghamshire and we’re looking forward to the display.”
The huge bonfire, which was made from three articulated lorry-loads of wooden pallets, sent thick, golden flames rippling into the night sky.
As the crowds streamed in through the gates, they could feel the heat from the fierce blaze reaching them all across the park.
This was probably just as well as temperatures plummeted to near-zero and everyone was wrapped up in coats, scarves and gloves.
The orange glow it cast across the sky could be seen from miles around the park and, while waiting for the fireworks, many people took up vantage points on nearby bridges, such as the one in Kedleston Road, which passes over the A38.
Earlier in the day, from 2pm, a huge fun fair had been thrilling visitors and, later, musical acts gave performances on the stage run by Capital FM.
Boy band FTW, 18-year-old singer-songwriter Sophie and Derbyshire’s own Matt McGuiness were among the acts joined by breakfast show presenters Dino and Pete, who, at about 6.15pm, got the crowd started on the countdown to start the fireworks.
For the next 20 minutes, the sky was filled with a mixture of red, gold and green explosions – more than 2,000 detonations in all.
Along with the “oooohs” and “aaaahs” from the crowd, the creative display was set to songs, including Think by Aretha Franklin, I Can’t Get You Out Of My Head by Kylie Minogue and It’s Raining Men by The Weather Girls.
Finally, with a barrage of huge blasts, which careered off each other like billiard balls and burst across the sky, the show was over and the applause began.
Sue Lickrishcorr was watching the display with sister Carol Wright and her two daughters, Eleanor, four, and Isabelle, three.
Sue, of Mickleover, said: “We got here at about half past five and it was already busy. We were able to get a spot and we could feel the heat from the bonfire.
“We’ve been coming here since we were little. I remember the display used to be set to classical music but there is a lot more pop now.
“But the fireworks themselves have got better and it was great tonight.
“There’s been a recession but I’m pleased to see the event is still free and that so many people have come.
“My daughters like it but I have another child who’s at home. He’s not such a fan.
“There’s just such a good atmosphere every year and no pushing or shoving. There’s enough space for everybody.”
Afterwards, the thousands streamed back out of the gates, leaving the park filled with the smoky haze from another spectacular display.