Fylde is relishing the prospect of another major boost to the local economy as tens of thousands of visitors flock to Lytham this weekend for a landmark staging of the annual 1940s Festival.
It’s the 10th year of the event which has grown rapidly since being held for the first time in 2010 and is now considered one of the most popular of its kind in the country.
More than 40,000 people are expected to attend the two-day event centred around Lytham Green, which will feature Second World War battle re-enactments, vehicle displays, vintage traders and music, dancing and singing reminiscent of the era.
Just over a month after the 10th annual Lytham Festival brought tens of thousands of visitors to town to see the likes of Rod Stewart and Kylie Minogue and hot on the heels of the frustration of St Annes Kite Festival having to be postponed because of poor weather, it’s a mouth-watering prospect for tourism chief and traders.
Coun Cheryl Little, chairman of Fylde Council’s tourism and leisure committee, said: “It is an event we always look forward to and this 10th year promises to be very special.
“I never imagined when I first suggested the idea of the Wartime Weekend for Lytham that it would grow so big - it is wonderful to see people travel from all over the country now to be part of it.
“”It is an event which really puts Fylde in the spotlight and it will be great to welcome so many visitors again so soon after the brilliant success of the Lytham Festival and after we had to postpone the St Annes Kite Festival until September 8 and 9.”
Denize Ashton, chairman of the Lytham Business Partnership, said: “The Lytham 1940s Wartime Weekend is a fabulous recreation of the music, fashion. transport, family life and spirit of that time, with dedicated 1940s fans and re-enactors and all types of services personnel in uniform.
“This event has just grown and grown and is a real jewel in the crown for Lytham and its traders, a great number of them dressing up themselves and their windows and offering discount for people in 1940s dress/uniforms.
“Although there are a few catering concessions on The Green, people flood into the town and enjoy what is going on in Clifton Square and throughout the town centre.
“Long may it continue.”
The 1940s Festival will run from 10am to 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday, and highlights will include battle re-enactments at 3pm each day by the Northern World War Two Association.
A weapons firing demonstration will take place at noon each day too, while at 2pm, there will be firing displays by the 69th Field Regiment Display Team.
The Your Gym marquee on Lytham Green has two days of free entertainment from 10am to 5pm, with the line-up including Winston Churchill’s rousing wartime speeches, a George Formby tribute and performances from popular acts Lancashire Belle, The Bluebird Belles, Lilli de Carlo, and Paula Marie.
Ahead of the Saturday and Sunday features, the variety show We’ll Meet Again takes place at Lowther Pavilion on Friday at 2pm and 7.30pm, while there will be pub games and a 40s quiz with prizes in the marquee on The Green from 7pm on Friday evening.
The Kalamazoo Dance Band will provide the music for a 40s dance in the marquee on Saturday evening, with additional music provided by forties DJ Bazooka Joe.