Blackpool Pier and Tower illuminations, England
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The light fantastic. Tripping the light fantastic
In Blackpool, sparkling lights aren’t just for Christmas. For more than 100 years, the “greatest free light show on Earth” has been drawing crowds and lengthening the tourist season in the English seaside resort. Today, 30 August, marks the first of 66 nights of illuminations, with buildings, lamp posts, trams, piers and fairground rides festooned with lights over nearly six miles of the Lancashire town’s coastline.The story of Blackpool Illuminations dates back to 1879, when eight arc lamps delighted visitors, in an era where most homes were still lit by candles or oil lamps. But the show really got going in 1912, with static illuminations to mark a royal visit. They proved so popular, they became a regular fixture. These days, it takes about 65,000 staff hours to prepare, operate and then dismantle more than one million bulbs. In recent years, the focus has been on reducing their environmental impact by using more efficient lights and renewable energy. Today’s picture shows the lights on the Ferris wheel on Central Pier and the Grade I listed, 550ft-high Blackpool Tower, towering over the coastline.