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Saturday 20th October 2001

Following on from last week's visit to the park for the Spooktacular On Ice, it was time to take our next visit for the first night of the Fireworks & Laser Spectacular 2001.

Construction for the fireworks had started during the previous week, with scaffold for the video screens, and another scaffold on the opposite bank of the lake. Strange...

Today, however, all came to light, as construction had been completed. Usual stuff could be spotted immediately; flame throwers around the lake, bombs in the lake, the familiar lights around the edge of the lake.

We took up our spot at the front about an hour before the show started, whilst being entertained by the local radio station, who got the crowd going much better than last year. Remember, it was very wet last year. Luckily for us, it stayed dry, and relatively warm compared to previous years.

The show finally began at about 7:05pm. The music started, and the video screens sparked into life. The story unfolded about the elderly wizard who had given powers to a pumpkin, who had then decided it didn't like the wizard hanging around anymore.

Music, video, fireworks, explosions and laser then told the story of the battle between wizard and pumpkin prince, good versus evil.

This year, the video clips on the screens were of a much higher quality than seen before, although sometimes you are at a bit of a loss to watch the screens or the fireworks. The water projection used last season makes a return, although makes less of an impact than before, although again, the computer generated imagery used is excellent.

The story is very much aimed at the youngsters this season, although adults will enjoy the show too. There is even a dig at Harry Potter at the end of the show. My only quibble is the laser. Once again this year, it seems the laser has been used to little effect. Only in 1999 can I remember the laser being used as part of the story. Since then, it seems it has only been included because they have it in the back of the van, and serves no real purpose to the storyline.

Overall, though an excellent night's entertainment, and if you time it well, you can even go and see the Spooktacular On Ice while waiting for the fireworks to begin.

Remember that the rides stay open late too, so you can get to ride Nemesis, Oblivion and a few other rides in the dark.

Steve Taylor