Three generations of fireworks going off this NYE

Three generations of fireworks going off this NYE

Three generations of the famous Foti Fireworks family will be working on Sydney New Year’s Eve for the first time, with high-school graduate Elena Foti, 18, joining her father and grandfather on the world-famous pyrotechnics displays.

This will be the 13th year the Foti family has created the City of Sydney’s 9PM Family Fireworks and Midnight Fireworks Displays, and Elena has usually watched with excitement from the sidelines.

“When you tell your friends that your dad’s the fireworks guy from Sydney New Year’s Eve, they’re like ‘wow that’s so crazy, your dad’s got the best job ever’,” Elena said.

“It’s pretty exciting and now that I’m 18, I’m getting into it. I’m actually working with Dad and the rest of the family members.

“At the moment I’m at the factories in Leppington, in Sydney’s south-west, doing a lot of administration work and when they start setting up on the barges at White Bay I’ll be going down and helping them.”

Elena will join her father, NYE Fireworks Director Fortunato, 47, grandfather Sam, 74, and uncles Tino, 48, and Vince, 64, as well as other relatives, Giovanni, Anthony and Angelo, in putting together the fireworks, which are seen by about one billion people around the world.

The Foti family has been in the pyrotechnics business in Australia since arriving from Italy in the 1950s but surprisingly Elena was always frightened of fireworks as a child.

“Believe it or not I used to be scared of fireworks when I was little – the noise used to frighten me,” Elena said.

“We used to have quite a few cracker nights when I was younger and I distinctly remember one time at my grandmother’s house where my Dad put this suit on, called Dominic the donkey, and firecrackers came off it.

“I was fascinated, but I was scared for him, too.”

Elena graduated this year from high school, but is yet to decide whether she’ll follow in the footsteps of her famous family.

“I can technically make fireworks now because I’m 18, but I’m thinking of going to university next year instead,” Elena said.

“But my brother Salvatore, 12, will definitely go into the business and he keeps telling my mum he’s leaving school to go do fireworks.”

This year, however, Salvatore will be content to watch with his other sister Angelina, 15, at one of the vantage points around Sydney Harbour.

“Last year we got to watch it from Dawes Point which was really cool because the atmosphere was great,” Elena said.

“I’m not sure yet as to where I’ll be this year, but hopefully it will be somewhere with a good view.”

To download the NYE12 smartphone app, visit or search your app store for ‘Sydney New Year’s Eve’.

Twitter: #NYESYD

For a safe and enjoyable 2012 Sydney New Year’s Eve:

  • Download the NYE12 app, created with Telstra, to take part in the first-ever Sydney Harbour interactive light show;
  • Pick a vantage point in advance and be aware popular areas fill up quickly;
  • Plan ahead if you’re heading to the harbour foreshore and take public transport;
  • Remember not to take glass to the event, and place rubbish in the bins provided;
  • Tune your radio to 104.1 2DayFM to hear the synchronised fireworks soundtracks picked by Kylie and friends; and
  • Watch the live broadcast on the Nine Network or the live stream, created by Telstra, at

2012 Sydney New Year’s Eve is proudly sponsored by The Daily Telegraph, 2DayFM, NSW Government, Sydney Opera House, Royal Australian Navy, Sydney Ports Corporation, The Royal Botanic Garden and Domain Trust, Telstra, Singapore Airlines, Production Resource Group, Technical Direction Company, Imagination, Yellowglen, Coca-Cola Amatil, Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, The Menzies Hotel, Scarborough Wine Co, Carlton and United Breweries, Ciroc (Diageo), Action Sound, Interface and PA People.


For media enquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Adviser Jodie Minus, phone 0467 803 815 or email

The Fred Hollows Foundation is the official charity partner of 2012 Sydney New Year’s Eve.

The Foundation is one of Australia’s leading development organisations, restoring sight around the world and proudly working in some of the most remote communities in Australia.

Over the past 20 years, it has performed millions of sight restoring operations and produced more than five million intraocular lenses in factories in Eritrea and Nepal.

Thanks to Fred, The Foundation can now restore sight for just $25. For more information go to