Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain is coming to Blackburn as part of an exciting calendar of family friendly festivals and events taking place across the town centre in 2016.
The Blackburn BID has announced the programme of activities funded by businesses which will complement the events being staged by the Council, Blackburn Cathedral and other partners such as The Mall and Blackburn Market.
On Saturday 25 June, a flower theme will spill onto the streets with a day of family activities and the return of Countryside Comes to Town featuring CBeebies favourite, Mr Bloom. The event was a finalist in last year’s Lancashire Tourism awards and attracted 76,000 people to the town. This year there will be a pop up farm yard, travelling insect circus museum, 30 foot sleeping pig and the BID summer bash, an evening programme of home grown talent. The event will be officially opened by the winner of the Great British Bake Off, Nadiya Hussain.
As a main sponsor of the Blackburn Cathedral Flower Festival 23 – 26 June, the BID will be hosting a Friday night twilight event for evening ticket holders. ‘The Secret Garden’ will include a licenced bar and live music where visitors will be able to enjoy cocktails, wine and speciality beers amongst the stunning displays.
Plucky the Hen will be launching an Easter trail around the shops between 12 March and 1 April when a dozen 3 foot giant chocolate eggs will be hidden across the town with a series of cryptic clues. The star prize will be an edible 3 foot jewel-encrusted golden egg and £500 worth of shopping vouchers to spend in town centre businesses.
On St George’s Day, Saturday 23 April, visitors will be invited to follow the dragons trail to see live street theatre and musical performances with human size puppet actors from different internationally acclaimed production companies. The event called, ‘Here Be Dragons’ will include shows in The Mall, Blackburn Market and on the Cathedral Grounds with a visit by the Thwaites Shire Horses, the distribution of roses by the Royal Society of St George, clog dancing, a town crier, roundabouts and rides, street food stalls and fairground organs.
Steam Sunday will be back on Sunday 9th October as local specialists, Heritage Painting bring together a convoy of enthusiasts from across the country, who will be showcasing their personal collection of steam powered vehicles from the workshops in Darwen to the Blackburn town centre. The company was recently in the media spotlight with the renovation project to restore the Flying Scotsman engine.
The BID has also already begun planning meetings for this year’s Christmas events following a town centre consultation with all partners last week where businesses were asked how they could best benefit from activities such as the lights switch on and lantern parade.
BID Manager, Harriet Roberts who is organising the events explained, ‘The festival programme is part of a five year business plan to market the town and attract new visitors by animating the spaces with high quality, vibrant events. We’re keen to move people around the town to experience some of the independent specialist shops a stone’s throw away from the main centre. There is also a will to extend the daytime events into the evening by experimenting with ‘twilight’ activities to encourage dwell time beyond 5pm.’