The Blackburn BID (Business Improvement District) is celebrating the success of the Blackburn Heritage Festival as its first major town centre event and announced that it could become an annual event.
Organiser, Harriet Roberts and a team of volunteers pulled together over 100 history themed activities and events which included Victorian fairground rides, steam engines and a pop up bandstand on Cathedral green to tie in with the national Heritage Open Days event on 13 and 14 September.
The event was funded by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and the Blackburn BID. There was project funding from the Heritage Lottery and additional investment by the Mall who staged a vintage fashion show with celebrity, Stacey Solomon. Volunteers in churches, shops and businesses staged a variety of exhibitions, guided walks and interactive activities.
Newly installed footfall counters measured a 38 per cent increase in footfall across the town centre.
Feedback was gathered on customer satisfaction forms, on-line surveys and via social media and at a facilitated event for participants. Organisers have entered the festival for the Lancashire Tourism Awards Event of the Year category.
Looking forward to 2015, Harriet Roberts said, ‘Over 30 people from all quarters came to our feedback meeting this week which demonstrated a ground swell of support for the Heritage Festival. There’s a consensus that a committee should be formed to ensure that next year is bigger and better. Suggestions have included guided walks between venues, a Blackburn pageant using different community groups and schools, and the creation of a heritage consortium to pull together the many independent groups with passion and pride in the rich history of the town.’
Councillor Maureen Bateson said, ‘This weekend has been a real success. The overall event, atmosphere and vibrancy in the town was great. Everybody, especially Harriet and her team deserve a richly deserved vote of thanks for a job well done.’