The International Fireworks Festival returned to Pattaya Beach with a bang and a flash, drawing ooohs and aaahs from a big low-season tourist crowd.
Chonburi Gov. Pakarathorn Thienchai kicked off the June 8-9 spectacular with top local officials at the Central Road intersection.
Canceled in 2016 due to the royal mourning period and in 2017 after the Interior Ministry nixed its budget, the popular event was moved to June to power-up low season, a scheduling move that appeared to work.
Beach Road, closed to traffic from 3 p.m. to midnight both Friday and Saturday was jammed with couples, families and fireworks fans, many of whom brought along mats to stake out a place on the beach. Of course, with Pattaya’s main north to south artery closed, traffic became a nightmare for anyone not on foot.
Friday night featured 45-minute performances from Italy and Brazil, with Thai pop bands Playground and Big Ass filling in the entertainment gaps.
Saturday’s finale drew an even larger crowd, with little room to walk around the main stage where Modern Dog and 25 Hours pumped up the volume. Despite sporadic raindrops, people packed the sand to watch the United Kingdom and Sweden put on their best pyrotechnics.
With all of Beach Road closed, the shoreline took on a true festival feel, with booths offering freshly cooked meals and beverages. Pattaya regulatory officers had their hands full, however, rounding up unlicensed vendors selling alcohol, an effort also aimed at placating festival sponsor Leo beer. Over the two days five sellers were charged.