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Sunday 29th October 2000

The final day of the Alton Towers season seemed more like the Glastonbury Festival than a Fireworks & Laser Spectacular. Rain, wind, freezing temperatures, and lots and lots of mud were the main course of the day, but in true British style, thousands of people braved the dire conditions to be treated to another fantastic display of fireworks and special effects.

The show was based around the mystery of Hex that the new attraction for 2000 was also based around. It started with the usual entertainment by Radio Stoke, which was interrupted a couple of times by 'technical faults', used to try and create a little tension, which may have worked if the conditions weren't making everyone wish the show would just get started.

The show got started very abruptly, with the Towers being engulfed in lightening effects, and the fireworks began. The story of Hex was then told, against the very impressive backdrop of the Towers lit to match the mood of the story, and thousands of pounds worth of pyrotechnics and lighting effects, including a special effect that involved a fine spray of water emerging from the lake, and a film of the beggar woman projected onto it from behind, producing spectacular results.

As usual the fireworks show didn't fail to impress, although the laser effects failed to play much of a part. It seemed that it had been included just for the sake of it, without much thought being put into how it could actually be incorporated into the story. The show finished off with the 1812 Overture, and massive explosions on the lake, which were certainly welcome to the cold guests stood on the sodden lawns, us being some of them.

Overall, the day itself was probably one of the most miserable I can remember in a long time. The British weather being what it is, Alton Towers really need to do something about the provisions they make for this kind of weather. Much more undercover accommodation is required for these kind of special events. The fireworks show lived up to all expectations, and made what would have been a really bad day, a little more bearable.

Next year, we'll remember to take some rubber boots. You learn from experience.

Steve Taylor