‘Who says history can’t be fun?’ ask the organisers of the biggest celebration of heritage being staged by a town or city in the North West. Blackburn Heritage Festival takes place on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 September with more Blackburn venues and activities listed on the national Heritage Open Days website than any other individual town or city in the region.
The free family entertainment include street theatre, guided tours, clog dancing, steam engines, cookery demonstrations and children’s crafts. X-Factor star, Stacey Solomon will be hosting in a vintage themed fashion show in the Mall.
Shops and businesses, community organisations, churches and arts groups have pulled together to open their doors for the weekend to stage 100 activities and events in 50 venues. 7 churches, a mosque, a funeral parlour, the Blackburn Spiritualist centre, Eanam Wharf, the Masonic Lodge, the Glass House in Corporation Park are among the places opening their doors. Shops and businesses have also organised displays of interesting artefacts and archives.
A vintage fairground including a Victorian Carousel and wooden helter skelter will be on King William Street with tickets for rides available for just £1. The centre piece of the event will be a travelling circus themed market and performance area called ‘A Carnival of Curiosities’. Visitors will be able to see a living mermaid and a Willy Wonka style sweet sugar emporium and a Victorian Apothecary bar.
A street food fair will include a pizza café on a vintage bus, a cake shop served from a camper van and fish and chips served from a mobile beach shack. The Thwaites Shire Horses will be making an appearance at lunchtime each day and Transdev have organised for an old Blackburn bus to be on Darwen Street
Coronation Street’s Peter Gunn will be opening the festival on the Cathedral Grounds with the Houghton Weavers and BBC Radio Lancashire’s Gerald Jackson. Blackburn and Darwen band, Blow Jangles, Nanukes of the North, the Red Rosettes, St Christopher’s School Band, Clitheroe Ukele Band, The Remedy and members of the Kora Collective will perform on a bandstand which will be on the Cathedral grounds next to a showcase of Blackburn Market traders who will have outdoor market stalls for the weekend.