Forget the football...
...at least Stavros Flatley made us all smile!
GLORIOUS warm sunshine greeted the record crowds of people who turned out for the start of the Peterborough Festival.
As the weekend temperatures soared to the highest for 2010, record numbers flocked to the first two days of the fortnight long festival.
Organisers believe more than 20,000 people packed into the city’s Central Park to witness an array of entertainment and many exciting activities.
Festival manager Dave King said: “It’s been really fantastic and it’s the biggest audience we have ever had. The crowds at the main stage have just been a sea of people all weekend.
“We are trying to bring the festival up a few gears from previous years. We want to raise the game and be proud of what we can do in Peterborough.”
The festivities begin with the annual Mayor’s Carnival Parade which kicked off the festival in colourful style.
Starting at the Embankment, the parade marched to a bhangra beat as it made its way into the city centre, where it was met by hundreds of onlookers in Cathedral Square.
While there, the parade was joined by Mayor of Peterborough, councillor Keith Sharp, who led the procession along Broadway, and into Central Park.
After declaring the festival open following a performance by the Key Youth Theatre (KYT), Cllr Sharp said: “The people turning out and welcoming us in the city centre and then following us all the way down to Central Park was brilliant to see.
“It’s been nice meeting all of the many children on the different floats, because its people like that who make the festival.
“The weather has been beautiful and hopefully it will bring plenty of people out.”
Among the thousands of people in the crowd were proud parents Stephen and Sharon Smith, of Woodston, Peterborough.
They watched as their son, Edward (20), performed alongside the rest of KYT.
Sharon said: “It’s such a great weekend for it because the weather is so good.”
While Stephen also added: “It’s amazing seeing our son here with KYT, performing in front of so many people.”
The festival, organised by Vivacity, the city’s new Culture and Leisure Trust, continued throughout Saturday with performances from the city’s X Factor star Nicole Lawrence.
Nicole performed on the main stage before hugely popular Britain’s Got Talent sensations Stavros Flatley entertained thousands of lively fans.
Councillor Matthew Lee, deputy leader of the city council and cabinet member for culture, recreation and strategic commissioning, was delighted with the start of the festival.
He said: “We have been blessed with the weather. It was great seeing the floats coming through the city for the parade.
“Every year, this festival seems to get bigger and bigger, and also better and better.”
Also taking place for the first time this year was a dedicated Teenfest Zone in the north quarter of Central Park.
The area, which was set up by the city council’s young people’s service, featured a range of activities for youngsters.
It was also where the Peterborough Youth’s Got Talent was staged. An initial 11 acts performed on Saturday, before they were whittled down to six.
The finalists returned yesterday for their last chance to grab the attention of the competition’s judges and the audience.
Locality manager for the young people’s service Javed Ahmed said: “The area was a brilliant showcase for our city’s youngsters to show off their skills.
“We had graffiti boards, MCing, dancing, everything, and it came together really well and people really loved it.”
CROWD PLEASERS: Stavros Flatley perform in front of thousands of people at Peterborough Festival on Saturday Evening. (METP-26-06-10GM202)