Last night we took Aidan to the fireworks.
I know, I know. I know what you’re thinking. It was only last weekend that we tried taking him to the drive-in, and didn’t we learn about keeping him up well beyond his bed-time?
In short, no.
Vancouver has this fireworks festival that runs every year. Three or four countries compete over four nights spaced through the end of July and early August. The fireworks (this year, they’re called the “Celebration of Light” but it’s gone through different names as the sponsors have changed) are a BIG DEAL here. Estimates are somewhere in the neighbourhood of 300000 – 500000 people watching them on any given night. We’re fortunate enough to be able to see them (almost completely) from our dining room windows, which has the benefit of being able to hear the music simulcast and see the fireworks without having to deal with the crowds. But on the other hand, it’s pretty interesting to be in such a large sea of humanity. Gwen and I, pre-baby, have gone down to English Bay and sat with several hundred thousand people on a beach, a scant few hundred feet from the fireworks barge. The five or six hour wait, followed by the several hour trip home is a bit hard to handle now, post-baby.
Aidan was pretty well prepared yesterday. A nice, long walk in the morning, a three hour nap in the afternoon, and reasonable meals all pointed to an after-hours outing that wasn’t going to be a disaster.
So, after supper, we packed up and walked down to Vanier Park. It’s not too far away … about twice the distance from our place to Granville Island (maybe 3 km total). Vanier Park faces English Bay, on the south side of False Creek. From there, we had a clear view of the fireworks barge, and the several hundred thousand people crowding the beach there. Vanier Park was crowded, but not oppressively so. There were probably a few dozen thousand people in the park.
Around 8 pm, we found a spot of parched grass and waited for the two hours we had until the fireworks were to begin. Aidan crawled around, played with the stroller, and we went for several walks with him. All in all, he behaved himself quite well.
Then, after the sun had set, we bought him his first ever glow-sticks. Actually, they were glow-bracelets, but they were perfect. He loved waving them around in the darkness. I think Gwen loved waving them around as much as Aidan did. These kept him busy and occupied up until the fireworks started.
Which they did, promptly at 10 pm. Aidan liked watching them, but wasn’t as mesmerized as we thought he might be. He watched the first little bit while sitting with Gwen, and the majority of them while sitting in his stroller. While sitting in his stroller, though, he alternated between playing with the stroller, watching people around him, and watching the fireworks. The flashes and colours seemed interesting to him, but didn’t captivate him. The explosions didn’t bother him in the least. He didn’t jump, start, or even think about crying when they went off. Gwen and I remarked to each other that he’s such a city boy. The spectacle lasted for about 40 minutes, and by the end, he had pretty much had enough.
We packed our things up and walked home. As you can imagine, the Seawall was pretty crowded, and we didn’t get home until 11:30 pm. Aidan, although flagging, was still awake. It didn’t take him too long to get down though.
For your edification, a video showing Aidan and Gwen with the glow-sticks, and a little bit of the fireworks is below: