Forget Lytham Festival - if only for a day or four - and set your sights a little higher... for it’s the St Annes Kite Festival this weekend.
And as with Lytham up t’road you won’t be able to move for colourfully clad characters carrying picnic baskets and folding chairs, bottles of wine - and umbrellas.
It is what passes for summer, after all.
The St Annes festival is first up in every sense. It’s the fifth festival of its kind, adding more music and merriment to the mix with each successive event, and it runs Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 5pm, thanks to a huge investment in the widespread appeal of this far reaching event by local councillors, businesses and sponsors.
It’s really taken off - and brought an almost genteel respectability to giant flying inflatables. Organisers welcome the seven strong Al-Farsi Kuwait Flying Team with one of the biggest collections of unashamedly huge inflatable kites including the world’s largest kite, Little Pearl, all of 1,200 square meters, as flown by the Kuwaiti team.
The skies above St Annes seafront will be awash with colour as fabulous display kites take to the air on the beach adjacent to the pier.
The festival is bigger, better and even more colourful, with single line kits of all shapes and sizes including Oscar, the world’s largest teddy bear kite.
The giant inflatable octopus is back, along with manta rays, flying cows, dogs, hippos and more. Aerial artists include the dynamic duo of Andrew and Kathleen Beattie, always in high demand at festival and events, who own a large collection of spectacular display kites , and fly them in ‘stacks’ for maximum impact. Lots of two line and four line stunt kites synchronised to music and much more.
While the kites are the crowd pullers there’s music on the beach and a Samba Sunday procession, as well as a teddy bear parachute drop sponsored by Storytellers Inc Book Shop with each intrepid bear receiving a certificate of achievement. Over at Ashton Gardens, St Annes Music Festival starts at 5pm tomorrow night with four bands, and resumes from 1pm well into the evening on Saturday and Sunday. More than 20 acts will feature including the Coustics (Sun) and former Gazette writer Steve Canavan. If that doesn’t float your boat drop in on RNLI open day on South Promenade, St Annes Sunday 11am-4pm.