THE people of March ignored the weather forecasts and enjoyed yet another successful Summer Festival at the weekend, writes Maureen James.
Thousands flocked to West End Park to enjoy the music on the open air stage; the Gala Parade through the town; the variety of stalls and amusements in the Lions Gala and the host of activities during the Picnic in the Park.
On Friday, despite the damp and blustery day, the evening weather, though cloudy, was kind enough to allow several hundred people to enjoy the music of the mix of young and ‘up and coming’ bands. The highlight of the evening was the powerful and melodic voice of 11 year old Holly Orridge from Chatteris who sang to the accompaniment of her brother on guitar.
Saturday dawned bright, though breezy, and thousands of people flocked into the town to enjoy the delights of the Gala Parade, in which many local groups and marching bands followed the car in which the Gala Princess Darryann Marshall travelled, along with her attendant Mihaela Pavel, around the streets and back to West End Park.
Once back in the park, the two girls climbed onto the stage to officially open the March Lions Annual Gala to be followed by MP Steve Barclay, accompanied by Patsy Brewin, who presented the trophies to the Winners in Parade: Dance Mania (Best Group) and Scott Inskip of Specsavers as The Green Man on stilts (Best Individual) and then judged the Fancy Dress competition. Mrs Brewin commented that “Everyone had made such an effort to dress up, it would have been nice to have given everyone a prize.”
The afternoon continued with the usual huge audience enthralled by the dancing of Lisa Dickinson’s Dance Mania, Gail Burgess School of Dance and Sarah’s Street Style Dance, and others wandering around the numerous gala stalls, and viewing the parade vehicles on display at Brewin Chase and with the park, which included a drag racing car.
It was then time for the music of The Brink, Ollie Griffen and, after a short break for setting up, the amazing Think Floyd, who showed the audience just why Pink Floyd sold so many albums. John Whitehead, MC for the weekend exclaimed “it is great to see that we can get a band whose concerts pack venues around the country and we can see them for free in our local park.”
Sunday afternoon was bright and clear as families started to arrive for picnic in the park, to hear the mellow music, and to enjoy the varied activities for children which included a colouring competition organised by Penny Hicks. Prizes, donated by Greetings were presented to Henry Charman and Archie Carman (Under 7 category); Siobhan Halliday and Ellie Jay (8 – 11 year old); and Alise Saboleva and Autumn Wilding (12 and over). The afternoon was enhanced by young magician Scott Fordham who demonstrated his amazing skills to small groups of adults and children.
As the afternoon drifted into evening, the weather became cooler and cloudier, prompting many of the families to go home. However over 150 people braved the chance of rain to enjoy the delightful sounds of the RAF Wyton Area Voluntary Band who included, within their set, songs to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. During the concert Marcus Phillips, chairman of the March Summer Festival committee thanked all the helpers, sponsors, performers and the numerous local businesses who made the event possible.
March Summer Festival is a major Fenland event, supported by Fenland District Council and March Town Council. More information on this years Festival, including a list of supporters and prizewinners can be found on the website www.marchsummerfestival.co.uk
• See Wednesday’s Fenland Citizen for more pictures