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Friday, December 31, 2010
Sydney greets 2011 with firework heaven
Sydney, Jan 1 (DPA) The thousands who camped overnight on Sydney's foreshore to bag the best places to watch the world's biggest New Year's Eve fireworks display declared their vigil well worth it.
'This has got to be the best place in the world to be tonight,' said Sydney resident Marc Wilson, one of an estimated 1.5 million who stayed up for what organizers said was the greatest firework show on earth.
Seven tonnes of pyrotechnics went up in blazes of colourful smoke on and around the Harbour Bridge.
The weather was warm and the skies clear for what firework fans said was the best show since the close of the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
More than 6,000 had queued for 24 hours to be at the water's edge when the clock ticked to a new day and a new year.
Taiwanese student Chen Wei Ting, who had waited since Thursday, was first through the gates of the Botanic Gardens to stake his claim to a prime position beside the Opera House.
'As a foreign student, we think the Australian New Year is very fascinating,' Chen said.
People around the globe think so too, with a television audience of over one billion expected to tune in for the for the $5-million show.
'We're probably the envy of most fireworks people around the world,' said Fortunato Foti, who is directing a display he said took eight months to prepare and which featured new tricks.
Rather than the customary curtain of golden fire streaming from the bridge, this year Foti managed a chessboard of red and white tumbling lights.
Police warned revelers of alcohol-free zones and that the drunk and disorderly would be in court on the first day of 2011.