Written by Polly Barnes, N&J Yacht Charters onsite writer/researcher

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July 14th, 2009: The lights along the horizon are of the dozens of anchored yachts

Like a child I, along with thousands of others, oohed and ahhed as the darkened skies over the Bay of Cannes lit up with dabs and splashes of color that seemingly danced with choreographed precision to accompanied music piped along the Croissette. Cannes begins the annual Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique competition each July 14th Bastille Day. Participating countries vie for the top prize and this year five countries will showcase their creativity throughout the summer.

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The start of the July 14th display
This is no ordinary fireworks display. It’s pure artistry with a carefully choreographed show of lights that are rhythmically coordinated to explode with the tempo of various musical pieces. An 8 person jury judges the “show” via theme originality, musical quality, colors, synchronization and shooting rhythm. Thousands of visitors line the Croisette for each display, so it’s best to arrive early for a front row view to best see the layered heights of lights as they are ignited from several pontoons along the bay. Of course, the best vantage point is from a yacht, dozens of which vie for the best anchorage behind the 300 meter viewing area of sea-based “shooting” pontoons.This year the schedule includes: July 14, Italy; July 21, Spain; July 29, Poland; August 7, and France; August 15. While the 30 minute fireworks display usually commences at 10 p.m., all displays are followed by concerts. On August 24th the prized country/group is announced and for the ceremony yet another fireworks display, from the Italian group Panzera, concludes the season.

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