What a blooming great weekend it promises to be in St Annes.
The town’s Carnival promises two days of fun, games and entertainment - and the whole event has a Celebration of Gardens theme to mark this year’s centenary of the Ashton Gardens venue.
The crowning of 10-year-old Emma Hanson as the new Carnival Queen in succession to Hannah Jeffrey will be the highlight of Saturday afternoon in the Gardens.,followed by a packed programme of entertainment for the rest of that day as well as on Sunday.
As ever, the Carnival gets under way with the traditional parade around the streets of the town, starting from Clifton Drive North at 10.30am.
It promises to be one of the biggest parades in the event’s long history, with more than 60 entries, including churches and local organisations, and will be led by The Oldham Pipe Band, followed by Fylde mayor Christine Akeroyd and deputy mayor Angela Jacques, who is also chairman of the Carnival Committee. Both will also have been baking beforehand for the famous cake stall in the tea tent at Ashton Gardens.
St Annes Carnival is the only carnival on the Fylde to specifically raise money for local charities; donating just short of £100,000 since 1978 and at the 1pm crowning ceremony, retiring queen Hannah will hand over a cheque to North West Air Ambulance, proceeds of the events held during her year’s reign,
Afternoon entertainment, starting at 2.15pm on Saturday, will be from the likes of Clifton Dance Academy, the Palace Community Choir, AKS music department, Heather Dee and Peter Anthony, while the competition tent will feature contests such as best miniature garden, best-dressed gingerbread, best floral arrangement in a teacup and best bake tray.
Celebrations in the Gardens will feature more than 40 stalls, games and rides for young children along with two adventure courses for youngsters, along with an open air food court and tea tent.
The Saturday entertainment continues until 6pm, while on Sunday, the programme in Ashton Gardens runs from 11am to 5pm, starting with a best dressed dog competition, which proved a hit on its debut last year and featuring a tug of war at 2pm.
There will also be entertainment from the performers including the Karen Hunter Dancers, Chelsea Jade, the Rarity Dance Group and Ryan Wallace, along with children’s games and races.
Coun Jacques said: “I hope lots of people will join us and make this town event a spectacular success.
“The committee would like to thank St Annes Town Council for their support with funding for the bands, and for the wonderful bunting around the town giving it a truly carnival atmosphere.”
Carnival queen-elect Emma is in Year Five at St Thomas CE Primary School and her hobbies are singing, dancing, drama, swimming and riding her bike.
Her favourite subjects at school are maths and PE while she especially enjoys learning about space and the planets.
Her retinue consists of Josslyn Wibberley, who is chief attendant, Jolena Wibberley, Bess Morrow, Jenny Kelly and Sophia Thompson.
Carnival charity is Marie Curie, offering care and support through terminal illnesses, and Emma said: “I am looking forward to raising funds for such a worthwhile charity.”