Music, dancing, fairground rides, fun dog show and Madame Zucchini - it’s all there at the 17th March Summer Festival next month

March Summer Festival. Picture: Kallum Ryan-Mueller.

March Summer Festival. Picture: Kallum Ryan-Mueller. - Credit: Archant

Let the sun shine and the music and dance begin as the March summer carnival celebrates its 17th year.

March Summer Festival 2014 (Photo: Barry Giddings)

March Summer Festival 2014 (Photo: Barry Giddings) - Credit: Archant

The weekend of free entertainment takes on a Top Of The Pops theme with performances by local dance schools, the popular parade, local bands and a host of stalls and entertainment.

Programmes are now out in shops around town along with posters which have been designed by Neale Wade Academy students ready for the vent from Friday June 10 to Sunday 12.

Maureen James, event manager, said: “This year we were really pleased to be asked by Neale Wade Academy if they could design our posters.

“They sent dozens of beautifully designed posters and it was really hard for our committee to choose the ones that we would scan and distribute around the town.

Sunshine all the way: March Summer Festival 2014 (Photo: Barry Giddings)

Sunshine all the way: March Summer Festival 2014 (Photo: Barry Giddings) - Credit: Archant

“The Academy will also be sending along some of their BTEC students to dance on the stage on Saturday afternoon.”

The festival committee will continue its tradition of involving the local community both before and during the event and for this yera features new attractions of dancing by the Casey Academy of Irish Dancing on Saturday and wildlife themed activities provided by the Friends of Rings End Nature Reserve on Sunday.

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The festival committee have also expanded links with local businesses, with more adverts in the programme, more prizes in the grand draw, more sponsorship and the expansion of the discount card scheme.

John Whitehead originator of the scheme explained: “I started the discount card scheme last year as a kind of loyalty card linked to the March Summer Festival.

March summer festival. Picture: Barry Giddings.

March summer festival. Picture: Barry Giddings. - Credit: Archant

“A handful of local businesses signed up offering discounts to people showing the card which they purchased for £5.

“This year for the same prize people can buy a loyalty card that gives discounts from more than a dozen businesses and which can save them up to £200.”

The cards, which offer discounts from June 1 until August 31 can be obtained by calling him on 077895-55590.

The Summer Festival kicks off on Friday night with a showcase of younger bands, co-ordinated by James Miller of CamBlast Promotions.

March summer festival. Picture: Barry Giddings.

March summer festival. Picture: Barry Giddings. - Credit: Archant

On Saturday 11, the grand festival parade will be led by Vivien the Fire Engine, closely followed by numerous classic vehicles, organised by Ray Howes.

The walking parade, organised by Rob Skoulding and Marie Rayner, will be led by the gala princess and her attendant or prince in a horse-drawn carriage provided by George Sharman and sponsored by March Lions.

This will be followed by the Mayor in a Triumph Stag driven by Mark Vawser.

The Lions Gala is on Saturday and will be officially opened at 1.45pm by Mayor Councillor Andrew Donnelly and Ian Groome, the Lions President, along with Bernard and Sylvia Keane who have both served as Summer Festival committee members since its foundation.

On the stage on Saturday afternoon will be the presentation of cups to the winners in the gala parade, judged by John Elworthy of the Cambs Times followed by the judging of the fancy dress competition by Johnny Dee of BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

They will be awarded prizes donated by The Toy Box and Boyes, with the best entrant also given the Patsy Brewin Memorial Trophy.

The stage will then be cleared to make way for dancing displays and music by local groups and culminating in a performance by the acclaimed 1960s tribute band The 6Ts.

When the 6Ts performed at the world famous Cavern Club in Liverpool, the performance by the Cambridgeshire based band was described by Sam Leach, the first Beatles manager, as “one of the best 60s sets he had seen for a long while.”

The format for Picnic in the Park on Sunday will be similar to last year, and will include not just a number of excellent musicians, but also the successful dog show at the end of the park organised by Doggy Styling.

There will be nature activities, circus skills, face painting, colouring competition (with prizes from Greetings) and a vegetable themed performance, walkabout and activities by local girl Natalie Hunt as the weird and wacky Madame Zucchini.

The weekend will end with a finale concert on Sunday evening with the ever popular Alan Norris Big Band who will provide us with a dynamic evening full of ‘blasts from the past.’

The free Souvenir programmes for the festival are available from the Town Hall, Library, the Leisure Centre and many town centre shops and businesses.

All the programmes contain a chance to win one of many prizes, donated by local businesses in the prize draw, for which a donation of a minimum of £1 will be required.

Last entries must be received before the Sunday night concert as winners will be announced during the interval.

March Summer Festival is made possible with funding from March Town Council and Fenland District Council, along with help from March Lions Club who run the gala, St Johns Ambulance who provide first aid cover, MADAOS and March Community Centre, Young People March and the George Campbell Leisure Centre plus some local businesses for the loan of equipment, sponsorship and advertising from local businesses including Smurfit Kappa, Whiting and Partners and Stephenson Smart & Co. Accountants, prizes from local shops and with help from numerous groups and individuals.

The Festival is costly to run and the committee have urged business owners who do not help with the event to consider helping in some way, by sponsorship or even displaying your advertising banner at the weekend.

Also needed is help with rigging, de rigging and stewarding.

Contact Clive Lemmon at March Town Hall 01354 653709).


Friday June 10 - Rock in the Park

6.30pm Poncho Pilots

7.10pm Damaged

8pm The Night Forests Grew

9pm Tree House Fire

Saturday June 11 - March Lions Gala

11am Lions Gala charity stalls and traders set up

Noon Classic vehicle parade leaves City Road Car Park followed by the March Carnival Parade and decorated floats. Classic cars will be available for viewing at the far end of the park after the parade.

1.45pm Grand opening of gala and presentations of trophies for parade.

2pm Fancy dress competition

2.15pm Lisa Dickinson’s Dance Mania

3.30pm The Casey Academy Of Irish Dancing

4pm Neale Wade BTEC Students

Pop in the Park

4.15pm Something Nasty in the Woodshed

6.15pm The Supergroup

8pm 6Ts

Sunday June 12 - Picnic in the Park

Picnic in the Park - Family Activities near the Bandstand from 1pm to 3.30pm

Noon Fenland Youth Swing Band

1.30pm Back Two

2.30pm MADAOS

3.15 Ivan Garford and ‘Jazz Odyssey’

5pm Catch 22

6.15pm Interval while concert is set up

During the day there is a colouring competition with presentation of prizes after 4pm, face painting, Adrian Ley Circus Skills Workshop,

Madame Zucchini, Friends of Rings End Nature Reserve activities, dog show at the end of the park - entries start at noon, classes at 1pm

Festival Finale

7.30pm to 9.30pm Alan Norris Big Band Concert

All weekend in West End Park there are fairground rides and refreshment stalls.