Wisbech Rose Fair - 50 year celebrations

Fenland District councillors at the planting to mark the 50th anniversary of the Wisbech Rose Fair.
Fenland District councillors at the planting to mark the 50th anniversary of the Wisbech Rose Fair.

Wisbech’s spectacular Rose Fair Festival starts next week and this year’s celebrations are even more special as they mark 50 years of this amazing event.

Tourists nationwide visit the festival which starts on July 3 and runs to July 6. To make sure you don’t miss out on any of the attractions, here is an outline of what is happening and where.

The Rose Fair kicks off with a preview evening on July 2 from 7.30pm to 9pm in the 900 year-old St Peter’s Church when you can see the floral arrangements which are on the theme of Floral Pageant. The church is open for visitors to admire the stunning arrangements until 7pm most evenings of the festival.

Choral Evensong is Wednesday to Saturday at 4.30pm with a Civic Service at 10am on the Sunday.

There will be stalls in the church gardens from Wednesday to Saturday and entertainment in Museum Square, exhibitions in the museum, art work in Wisbech Castle and historic vehicles in the car park.

The colourful parade, which is organised by Wisbech Round Table and helps to raise money for local charities and causes, is at 11am and 2pm on July 6 with floats decorated on the theme of Wonders of the World.

Leading the parade is the newly crowned Rose Queen, Yazmin Holmes. The floats take the usual route around the town with plenty of opportunity to line the streets and catch a glimpse.

A park and ride bus service with Norfolk Green is operating on Saturday July 6 from the Elm High Road retail park to Church Terrace starting at 9.20am and every 15 minutes through to the last bus back from Church Terrace at 5.45pm - be aware of disruptions to the timetable during parade times.

Flower festivals will also be held during Rose Fair at Wisbech Baptist Church in Hill Street; United Reformed Church in Castle Square and the Trinity Methodist Church in Church Terrace.

Other town attractions will be open including the Angles Theatre, Elgood’s Brewery, Octavia Hill’s Birthplace House, Peckover House, Wisbech Museum and Wisbech Castle.

The judges will also be out looking at the town’s Best Dressed Rose Fair windows on July 3 ready to present the Chamber of Commerce shield to the winner.

Money raised from the Rose Fair Festival helps to pay for restoration work for St Peter’s Church.

Father Paul West, parish priest at St Peter’s, said: “It is very special. For me, Rose Fair just injects such life into the town. It is a huge celebration where we see potential in one week of what Wisbech could be all the time.

“It is very special, not just in the life of the church, but for the town. A lot of work goes into reversing this town’s image and Rose Fair shows it is a good town every week. It is a big showcase for Wisbech.”

Those involved with In Bloom have added their tribute to 50 years of the Rose Fair with a spectacular floral display in the church gardens which was officially unveiled last Tuesday by Peter Murphy, Fenland District Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, with Bob Ollier, the council’s parks and open spaces manager, members of the Friends of St Peter’s, Wisbech in Bloom and staff from The Landscape Group.

• Next week’s Citizen will feature a nostalgic look back at 50 years of Wisbech Rose Fair.