Skegness Summer Festival is well underway with the popular 999 day taking place today (Wednesday, August 15).
Skegness Carnival and its adventure film theme parade - adapted as it takes 80 minutes from start to finish - launched a week-long Summer Festival on Sunday, with thousands of people lining the streets to watch the parade.
Led by the Town Crier, Steve O’Dare, who welcomed the crowds, more than a mile of floats, dancers and entertainers brought a rainbow of colour to the day as clouds gathered overhead.
Wiggle and whistle sellers had made the most of the time families had been waiting and the atmosphere was building before the first float was spotted.
Among the crowd were Danielle Ward-Bailey and her children Shauna, 15, and Xavier, nine, from Nottingham.
Danielle said: “We come to Chapel St Leonards this week every year, but have never seen Skegness Carnival before. The atmosphere is great and we are looking foward to seeing what’s on the rest of the week in Tower Gardens.
“My husband, Michael, is with us but he’s watching the Liverpool game today - it’s our wedding anniversary which is why we always come this week.”
Riding along with the floats was the Mayor of Skegness Coun Sid Dennis and the new Carnival ‘Royalty’ Cailey-Ann Calladine, aged 13, and Spencer Oliver Dorn. nine. The Army also took part, as well as holding a recruitment event in Tower Gardens, with virtual reality opportunities for visitors to go skydiving or driving a tank.
The Skegness Standard’s Facebook Live video reached more than 102,000 people, including viewers from as far away as Australia. Kevin Jackaman posted: “Gidday from Down Under, Been a great parade thank you..”
And Karen Jack commented: “Nice to see quite a few proper floats.”
One or two people noticed something missing, however. Janice Thomson, last year’s Skegness Carnival Committee secretary, posted on Facebook: “Where were the bands? Can’t have a Carnival without bands! There were three live bands in Chapel,”
Angie Fox, who runs Skegness Junior Marching Band , posted on Facebook: “I can’t believe no Marching Bands in Skegness Carnival. Really?!
“It sounds like people were disappointed with Skegness Carnival this year. No marching bands. Is there any reason why? We are the local Skegness Marching Band. Nobody approached me. No excuse about cost as they don’t pay us anyway - not even a donation. We are only a small band but better than no band at all.”
Overall, the response was positive. Winner of the 2018 Best Float was Lisa Jay Stage Institute. Gary Starr, chairman of Skegness Carnival, said: “The entrants to the Carnival this year were simply incredible, with so much time and effort going into floats (Best Float won by Lisa Jay) and costumes it was certainly the colourful spectacle we had hoped for, despite the miserable weather.
“Luckily the rain held off for the parade, despite a few cancellations (due to health and safety issues with the rain) we had a very well-supported procession.
“The Carnival and the events are ever-growing and evolving, and after the success of last year we feel this Carnival Week is at a whole new level and certainly puts us in the right place to step it up even more next year. We will be looking for more sponsorship, volunteers and help over the coming year in order for us to pay for, and sustain, what is now the biggest free event in Skegness.
“I’d like to personally say a big thankyou to the carnival committee and all our volunteers who have worked tirelessly throughout the year to put on this event, and to everyone that took part. Also a big thank you to the Carnival Parade’s main sponsors Duncan and Toplis, (plus the many other businesses in Skegness, that donated money, prizes and their time), without this generous support the Carnival would cease to exist.
“The Carnival Parade continues to bring tens of thousands of people to the area, helping support the local economy and businesses, plus more importantly it puts smiles on the faces of so many people.
“Now we look forward to continuing the week of free entertainment and activities with our Skegness Summer Festival in Tower Gardens (Sponsored by Visit Lincs Coast) which has live entertainment daily, competitions, a licensed Batemans’ bar and the many stallholders.
“Then, next week, we start preparations for next year’s Carnival 2019.”
• The Summer Carnival week continues today with the annual 999 day, featuring special virtual reality activities from the Army, including skydiving and driving a tank.
There will be acts on the main stage, a variety of stalls all week, and a licensed bar from Batemans Brewery.
• For the story and pictures from Skegness Carnival parade, see this weeks Skegness Standard.