SOUTHEND seafront was illuminated with spectacular fireworks as a much-loved event made its return.
The city's popular free seafront fireworks displays returned this weekend marking the first of eight weekends the event will light up the skies.
Saturday's event marked the first of eight consecutive weekends of the free seafront fireworks, ending on November 18 to coincide with the seaside resort's big Christmas light switch-on.
After the event was thrown into doubt earlier this year, traders have come together to form a “seaside partnership” to fund the fireworks alongside Southend Council and with support from the business improvement district (Bid).
Southend resident Dave Bowler said Saturday's firework display was "one of the best" he's ever seen.
Seaside partnership chairman Marc Miller thanked all of the businesses, as well as the Bid and the local authority for raising the funds to ensure the event could go ahead.
"It has been a massive team effort," he said.
Speaking after the event, Mr Miller, who is also the managing director of the Stockvale Group which owns attractions like Adventure Island, said a collection of brand-new, brighter fireworks gave the event an "extra wow factor".
He told the Echo: "It’s amazing how Southend extends the season until mid-November, including the famous Halloween parade Fright Fantastic week during October half term and of course our own Christmas spectacular at Adventure Island.
"I cannot think of any other seaside resort that compares."
He said the city was "buzzing with families all afternoon and evening" which he feels is good for the local economy.
"It's good for everyone," he added.
The fireworks are set off from a barge out in the estuary, east of Southend Pier, meaning viewers can get a fantastic and uninterrupted display anywhere from Sea-Life Adventure to Genting Casino.
Each display will last around ten minutes.
Events are scheduled for the next seven Saturdays - October 7, October 14, October 21, October 28, November 4, November 11, and November 18.
All events will begin at 8pm except for the finale on November 18 which will start at 7.30pm.