Rain fails to dampen spirits at March festival

March Carnival Parade ANL-140806-164845009
March Carnival Parade ANL-140806-164845009

Spirits at the 15th March Summer festival were not dampened despite the downpour.

Smaller crowds were seen lining the streets to watch Saturday’s parade due to the rain but thousands of people flocked to West End Park to enjoy music and activities at the Lions Gala along with Picnic in the Park.

Festival committee secretary Clive Lemmon said: “Overall we were very pleased with the festival.”

It kicked off on Friday when 300 people enjoyed ‘Rock in the Park’, co-ordinated by Chris Revett of Camblast. The line-up included ‘Damaged’, Kamikaze Hotshot, Death Radio, Vendetta and Dirty Kirst and the crowd were pleased to welcome back local singer ­songwriter Rob Paling.

Rain didn’t stop the festivities on Saturday morning as the park filled up for the Lions Gala but by the time the vintage vehicles and groups gathered in City Road lorry park for the parades the rain was torrential.

A large number of vehicles took part in the first March Vintage Vehicle parade.

Ray Howes, parade organiser, said: “Given the weather, the parade was fantastic.”

The main gala parade, organised by Rob Skoulding, was led by Sambanda, followed by the Gala Princess Nina Bridger, 11 and her attendant, nine-year-old Lila Mai Mottram, and the Mayor of March Kit Owen.

The gala at West End Park was opened by the March Lions President Elect, Yvonne Eatock, Kit Owen and Patsy Brewin. Dance Mania members received the Mallett Trophy for Best in Parade and the 4th March Brownies won the Skoulding Trophy for Best Individuals. Fancy Dress competition winners were: Lola Dickinson, Toni Arnold and Lauren Pailing. A special prize for effort was also given to Sharon Shepherd.

A large audience watched Lisa Dickinson’s Dance Mania and Sarah’s Street Style Dance, interspersed with a performances by Tom Harlock and Aimee Peart­Webb. The afternoon ended with bluesy sounds of Misty Jones.

Bruce Smith presented trophies to the classic car parade winners who were John Ridley and Chris Wayman.

Pop in the Park, sponsored by Pilgrim’s of March, included Radiowave, Wild Honey and Soulweaver.

The evening was rounded off by a Las Vegas style concert by Benwick-based Elvis Tribute act, Gary Jay supported by The Wonder of Elvis Band.

On Sunday hundreds of people enjoyed Picnic in the Park with music provided by the Fenland Youth Swing Band, The Rob James Band and The Rusty Relics and members of March and District Amateur Operatic Society.

Circus skills workshop, storytelling and the colouring competition, organised by Penny Hicks, were part of the fun.

The Alan Norris Big Band gave a rousing performance in the evening.

The March Summer Festival Committee has thanked everyone who helped, sponsored or supported the event, including MC John Whitehead.

Help and ideas are always welcome for future festivals, contact Clive Lemmon on 01354 653709.