Eiffel Tower Extravaganza

World famous monument counts down to Year 2000

Talk about planning ahead. Paris began planning for the Year 2000 countdown more than two years ago. On April 5, 1997 the Eiffel Tower’s timer began counting the seconds to midnight of January 1, 2000. You may ask, why April 5th? That day is exactly 1,000 days before the year 2000.

As you can imagine all this planning ahead means an elaborate celebration when the clock strikes midnight. The Eiffel Tower will put on quite a show of fireworks, lights and music. It’s a show that will be broadcast around the world and enjoyed by billions.

The show will actually start at three minutes before midnight. With rhythm, movements and accelerations synchronized to 1/100th of a second. There will be powerful accompanying sounds by specially designed computers that will perform a pyrotechnic ballet. The movements will beat in unison with the crowd down to the very last second of the New Year.

It’s a light and music and fireworks show that has been designed so that it can be watched from any place in Paris where the Eiffel Tower can be seen. With 20,000 flashes of lightning turning the tower into flashes of gold.

To get a better understanding of just what this show will be like you need to understand who is behind the show. Yves Pepin’s production company is the creator and you may not recognize his name, but you will know his work. It is Pepin’s production company that is responsible for the light and laser show "Fantasmic" at Disneyworld. He also designed a new light show for Universal Studios in Orlando this year.

The sparkling display has taken three months to install. A team of 20 climbers had to carry 20,000 light bulbs, 800 strings of lights and other materials up the tower. There’s also 20,000 firework launches spread over the whole monument.

An elaborate display worth seeing, if only on television. 70 television networks representing 155 countries will show the celebration on New Year’s Eve. That’s 70 percent of the world, so there’s a good chance you’ll get a good seat from in front of your TV this New Year’s Eve.

DATE: 12/7/99

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