The only way is up

Picture Martin Bostock'A group of enthusiasts, led by Pat May, are planning to revive St Annes Kite Festival.
Picture Martin Bostock'A group of enthusiasts, led by Pat May, are planning to revive St Annes Kite Festival.
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HOPES are high that St Annes’ kite festival can make a comeback this summer after an absence of seven years.

A group of enthusiasts, led by schoolteacher Patrick May, have set their sights on reviving the event in late July this year — and intend that the spectacular free festival will offer something for all the family.

When previously staged, the event regularly attracted thousands of eager onlookers, with some 20,000 watching from the beach when the festival last took place in 2005.

“That was billed as a poor attendance compared to some of the turnouts in previous years so it shows how much potential there is for this event,” said Patrick, a lifelong kites enthusiast, who grew up in Lytham and is now based in St Annes after a spell living away in Cumbria.

“I well remember the festival being a key local attraction every summer and it was so sad when it disappeared from the calendar.

“We want to reinstate it and make it a regular annual event that all the family can look forward to. We want it to attract the top national kite enthusiasts and the five-year plan is to turn it into an international festival.

“St Annes beach is the ideal venue and enthusiasts from all over this country and beyond will really look forward to coming here.”

Patrick, who teaches at a Blackpool school, said the original intention was to hold the festival in early September but it has now been set for the final weekend of July.

He said provisional talks with Fylde Council over the event had proved fruitful and he has been busy in recent weeks meeting traders and other organisations in a bid to gain some commercial backing for the festival.

“It should only cost a few thousand pounds to stage but can be extremely lucrative for the town in terms of tourism and revenue,” he told a meeting of St Annes Chamber of Trade.

The plan is for the festival to be held on the beach just north of St Annes Pier and along with a colourful array of kites from all over the country, the intention is to stage attractions for children such as parachuting for teddy bears — complete with certificates.

“It certainly sounds like an event to be welcomed,” said Chamber of Trade chairman John Moxham.

“I know it has proved popular in years gone by and of course the potential of thousands of people coming along to support such an event has to be of benefit to business in the area.”

Organisers are eager to hear from any businesses interested in backing the event and more details are available online at www.stanneskitefestival.co.uk.

The previous event on St Annes beach, known as the Fylde Kite Festival, was a prime attraction for more than a decade up to 2005, usually held over two days in June.