Fylde traders are celebrating after another busy summer attracted tens of thousands of visitors.
And they are relishing another boost to business as thousands more flock to Lytham this weekend for the ninth annual 1940s Festival.
More than 40,000 are expected at the two-day event which has grown since its origins in 2010 to become one of the biggest commemorations of the Second World War in the country.
The festival is organised by Fylde Council and features battle re-enactments and a host of other tributes to the war years on The Green and throughout the town.
It comes hot on the heels of 50,000 music fans attending the Lytham Festival and an aggregate turnout of more than 62,000 at the British Women’s Golf Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes.
That adds up to around 150,000 visitors and their spending power inside a month – to the delight of local traders.
Denize Ashton, chairman of the Lytham Business Partnership, said: “What a great summer of events it has been – and we always look forward to the 1940s Festival.
“Visitor numbers for the weekend are increasing year on year, and although many of the activities take place on The Green, there is always plenty going on around the town and the shops, cafes and restaurants love taking part.
“This year, there are lots more evening events in the marquee and at Lowther Pavilion plus bands and groups to appeal to all ages.
“That means more people staying overnight or for the full weekend, which adds to the delight for the local economy. Businesses are queuing up to come here and one of the key draws is a good mix of retail establishments, boutiques and gift shops, along with the traditional favourites.”
Coun Cheryl Little, chairman of Fylde’s tourism and leisure committee, added: “This weekend is a fantastic boost to local businesses in Lytham – it’s wonderful to see the town come alive with the wartime era spirit.
To see this event having grown into one of the top events nationwide is tremendous.
“As a Fylde Council-run event, I know how hard the team work behind the scenes to pull this together and deliver a successful weekend.”
The Festival runs from 10am on both Saturday and Sunday and among the highlights will be the popular annual battle re-enactment close to Lytham Windmill, a parade of historic vehicles and daytime entertainment including tributes to the likes of George Formby and Vera Lynn as well as the event’s own ‘Winston Churchill’.
The BAE Systems marquee on The Green will feature Home Front recreations and a static Spitfire from the Lytham St Annes Spitfire Ground Display Team along with a static Messerschmitt ME109, while new attractions will include Home Front re-enactment groups and more historic vehicles and static displays.
Weather permitting, a Second World War film will also be projected onto Lytham Windmill on Saturday evening, while other evening events are set for the marquee and Lowther Pavilion.
Meanwhile, Fylde mayor Peter Collins will be judging a ’best-dressed’ competition on Saturday involving a hist of local businesses.
Lytham Fizz will be operating the main bar in the entertainments marquee over the weekend. Owner Izzy Shaw said: “We love this event and think it’s certainly a main highlight on Lytham’s event calendar.”