The Living Skies Come Alive International Fireworks Competition at Moosomin Regional Park features world-class fireworks displays over Moosomin Lake each summer. Kim Poole photo

Canada vs Philippines at 2019 Living Skies Fireworks

March 11, 2019 8:17 am

Every August long weekend, the skies come alive over Moosomin Lake. For the last several years the Living Skies Come Alive Fireworks Competition has pitted two fireworks companies against one another.

Each puts on their best show—one on Saturday night, one on Sunday night—and a panel of judges selects the winner.

The fireworks shows are unlike anything else on the Prairies. Timed to music, carefully choreographed, the fireworks shows are a different calibre than anything else on the Prairies. The fireworks are shot off across the lake from the main beach, so they are reflected in the water of Moosomin Lake.

The fireworks weekend has grown over the years, with thousands of people taking in the shows each night.

The two-day fireworks competition long pitted Saskatchewan against Manitoba, but for the last two years it has gone international, as Canada took on China and the United States over the last two years.

It will be Canada versus the Philippines at the 2019 Living Skies Come Alive International Fireworks Competition at Moosomin Regional Park August 3 and 4.

“We’re really excited about having the Philippines come this year,” says Laurie Renneberg of the organizing committee.

“We have a very large Filipino community in town. We’re hoping to get them involved as much as possible as part of our fireworks committee. When we had China, we had the Lion Dance, and with the Philippines, we’re hoping to involve them maybe serving Filipino food and having some entertainment.”

Initial reaction from the local Filipino community has been positive.

Layne McFarlane, another member of the committee, said he hopes members of the Filipino community across the Prairies come out to see the Canada vs. Philippines competition.

“The Filipino community is really quite large between Winnipeg and Regina. We hope a lot of them come out,” he says.

The organizers are hoping to replicate the excitement of the Canada vs China competition two years ago with the competition with the Philippines.

“There was a lot of excitement with China coming, not quite as much with the States because they’re maybe too familiar,” said Renneberg. “I think the Philippines will create that same level of excitement we had with China again.”

The weekend also includes music both nights. This year, the live bands are Stuck on Red and The Firm from Langenburg.

There is a lot of work that goes into the massive event each year.

“We have this 10-page worksheet that Laurie developed that we keep adding on to as time goes on,” says McFarlane. “There are so many different jobs that have to be done. Right now we’re still putting the big pieces in place and as time goes on we will fill it in more and more.”

What’s the hardest part of putting the event together?

“Getting enough volunteers,” says McFarlane. “It takes a lot of people to make everything run smoothly. Even for parking and traffic control, it takes so many people. It’s not a glamorous job but it’s absolutely vital to get people in efficiently and get them parked in an organized way, and get them out in an organized way.”

Organizers are looking for anyone who may have a side-by-side they could provide for the weekend, to help get people between the beach area where most people watch the fireworks, and the parking at the top of the hill.

Many people make the fireworks weekend the centre of a camping holiday at Moosomin Lake.

The fireworks weekend has become a very successful fundraiser for Moosomin Regional Park. “Last year it raised a little over $100,000,” says McFarlane. “The year before that, with China, it was $130,000. So it’s huge, but at the same time, our overhead cost going into it is like $130,000, so most of all you hope for good weather.

“I feel a little like a farmer—the costs of the fireworks and the entertainment coming in and the security and the porta-potties and the tents for the beer gardens are committed costs. You’ve put everything on the line, and you see how it goes. Have we been fortunate? Yes, we’ve been fortunate with the weather each year.

“Our new water plant at the park cost in the range of $630,000. A rough guess as to how much has been raised over the years by the fireworks is about $450,000. As a public park, if we could make another significant bite into the cost of the water plant and help pay off some of our loan, that would be wonderful.”

The organizers are hopeful they will get a good crowd again this year. The Canada vs. U.S. weekend attracted 9,500 spectators and the Canada vs. China weekend attracted 12,500.

“We have a cap of 7,000 tickets a night,” says Renneberg. “We’re hoping with the Philippines it will have that international draw like we had with China.”

She says she is looking forward to the August long weekend. “I am truly looking forward to it, because our Filipino community has been so involved in our community, and this is like we’re giving something back to them by having the Philippines come.”

“Having the Philippines come is really special because of the community both locally and regionally,” adds McFarlane. “This should be special for them.”

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact or or call Laurie at 306-435-7746 or Layne at 306-435-9662.