Last night marked the start of Riverfire with fireworks and the last ever dump and burn by the retired F1-11s. This year, the State Government and the City Council have combined the Brisbane Festival and Riverfire so that there will be three weeks of continued entertainment, dining and cultural experiences for all to partake in. There is the Writer's Festival on this weekend. There are entertainers from overseas, notably Chris Isaak who sang in a free concert at the River Stage in the Botanic Gardens last night after the firework. There are plays, opera, dance...you name it, it's all on in the next three weeks when the City goes into party mode.
Tomorrow, there's a free breakfast barbecue on one of the bridges, which naturally will be closed to traffic, for those who wish to eat there. Another evening, a bridge is also closed and several chefs prepare a three course meal. Naturally, this is a priced event and tables need to be booked early as it's very popular. Can you imagine a bridge over the river, tables and chairs set up, silver flat ware, glasses, condiments and table decorations, plus wait staff, and people dining? It's quite a fantastic scene.
Last night, of course, started the whole Festival off with a bang...literally. There were fireworks off three bridges, barges in the middle of the river and on strategic high rises throughout the CBD. Every possible vantage point was seething with bodies...some of whom had been there since 4 am to secure themselves the best spot. Past the barges and at a safe distance, the river was thick with pleasure craft...the occupants of which were settled in for a good night's entertainment. The ferries had to be very careful when docking and leaving their points of embarcation along the river banks.
South Bank Parklands was full to capacity as were all the restaurants along the river bank. The Brisbane Big Wheel was lit up and people had phoned local radio stations to enter the competition for a seat on the Wheel for the best view of the lot. Roads were closed and traffic came to a standstill to watch the spectacle.
It started off with the F1-11s doing a low fly past at only 600 kph..slow in comparison to their normal speeds. Then the fireworks started...25 minutes of noise and colour, oohs and aahs and applause from the thousands, well satisfied with the result of their long wait.
The F1-11s flew past again...this time giving the City one last farewell with their well known dump and burn manouevre...it was a sad night because it's the last time this will happen. Apparently people came from all over the State, plus some from other states to see this phenomenon one last time.
I've put some photos on but as I'm still getting used to my camera and I didn't really have a steady surface to hold it, I had to delete most of the photos I took. These are not as good as I'd have liked but they'll give you some idea of what went on.
Off the Story Bridge
This...Dante's Inferno. You can see the glow from the after burner. You can feel the heat, the noise reverberates right through you and it's all over in seconds.