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Ferragosto. The busiest night of the year for Positano Amalfi Coast. Crowds come from miles around to see the incredible fireworks display that is set off from a floating raft in the sea. The bay is lit up with hundreds of boats and the whole coast road is jammed with cars and bikes as people park to find a good viewpoint.
But yesterday afternoon the weather suddenly changed. Clouds arrived and settled down close to the mountains, bringing stifling heat and humidity with them for the afternoon and then, suddenly, towards evening the winds arrived. Strong, fresh winds that whirled around the town, whipping the bougainvillea off the vines, sending umbrellas flying and causing havoc amongst the festive crowds.
Walking down to the beach in the evening we watched the wind cause mischief and mayhem. Girls staggered around clutching their skirts to their sides, vainly fighting the winds attempt to blow their dresses over their heads, while they were blinded by their hair that whipped across their eyes, sticking in their lip gloss and blowing into disarray.
Down near the sand little children screamed and jumped up and down, slapping their legs in fright as they were stung by a sandstorm brewed by the wind. People twirled and pirouetted, clutching their sand-filled eyes, trying to turn their backs to the wind, but to no avail. The wind decided to make things more exciting and rushed over to the bancarelle, the market stalls set up on the beach. With one big gust two stalls fell, collapsing in on themselves and burying their wares amongst canvas and sand. The dismayed owner stormed around his ruined stands, cursing to the skies and shaking his fist before storming off into the crowds.
As time for the fireworks grew nearer, the wind grew stronger. Strong enough, in fact to make the firework platform out at sea come loose from its holdings. For a while it drifted slowly away from the town until somebody finally noticed and help was called.
Midnight arrived, but the fireworks didn’t. It was just far too windy and dangerous. Slanting almost horizontally against the strength of the wind, the crowds pushed their way home. For the first time this summer people had to sleep with the windows closed, so fierce was the gale. It raged on throughout the night and then, finally exhausted with its efforts, blew itself out in time for the morning.
The fireworks of Ferragosto have been rescheduled for Friday the 22nd August. Everybody is invited except for the wind.