Wordpool: Family Fun Day at Stanley Park

Dodging, I curved out of the picture, taking a few paces to the right. The small group were then able to take their photograph. Families twisted their way around The Land of the Giants. All of these flowing, lively giants were carefully constructed and crafted by ten Blackpool schools, much like the intricate Tiny Worlds created for last year’s Wordpool event at Stanley Park. This year saw Wordpool welcome the arrival of the giants. It was a delight to explore all of the different Giant Worlds on offer on Saturday 5 July in Stanley Park.

Just up the grassy path lay a line of Iron Giants. This was one of the many opportunities throughout the packed day for children and families to make something of their own out of arts and crafts. Children were engaged with all of these artsy opportunities and fun was had by all around different pockets of the park. Another example of this would be the delicate clouds placed upon tall trees on a mound near the lake, excitedly decorated and hung up by the attendees. There was the land of the giant bugs – jumping with families being drawn in by creative tasks and crafts fun. A short walk took me to the location of the Teddy Bear’s Picnic, an area separated out for little ones and, of course, Teddy Bears.

I made my way down the path, gradually walking away from the shimmering Clocktower. The crowd shifted along with the Giant Wheelhouse which contained two figures in steam-punk-like outfits. This imaginative and unique piece of silent physical performance continued, the ominous music seeping through the discrete speakers setting appropriate tones. The Giant Wheel was decorated in a most unusual way,  smashed with homely things, pieces of bric-a-brac, an old clock. This was point A on my map. Point K now stood before me, enthralling children and passers-by with grand tales of giant, beastly worlds.

I passed the two giant pencils, one red, one yellow. There were two stilt walkers spouting tall tales, enchanting the children who only reached their pointed knees. It was great to see families and children smiling and craning their heads towards this second piece of witty theatre. Another example of this was just a step away, provided by The Wooden Spoon Theatre, and it was a short piece of family friendly entertainment performed with wit and enjoyment.

I continued on my way, seeing an archaic typewriter placed delicately within a wooded part of the park. Through the trees dangled messages to the giants.  There was another important message at the entrance of the packed instillation: ‘GIANTS DO NOT HAVE MOBLIE PHONES. They are not users of Facebook’. Therefore, the children and families had to write not on touchscreens but on luggage labels. These lovingly crafted notes were then placed around this part of the park, ready for the giants to find in the depths of the night. Families loved this, thinking carefully about the words and loose prose they would write to entice the mystical giants.

The fizzy drink tasted good in the hot sun, the warmth beaming against a large grassy area near the lake. A Gruffalo Dance ran through the air, and looking from the gently curving hill I could see the dancers in a wide circle. To their left lay the Grand Theatre’s Gruffalo Trail. Families grabbed their hunt sheets and went excitedly to the wood, in search of feet, fur and warts; all belonging to a very popular Gruffalo. It was a break from the calm to run through the small wood looking for pieces of the Gruffalo – some hidden in ridiculously hard places, but all in the name of fun. Across the day I had seen kids wandering, jumping and running around with arts and crafts hats on their heads, each piece of wound and stapled paper representing different characters from ‘The Nations Favourite Children’s Book’ – The Gruffalo; a story which has been successfully adapted into a great stage play which is coming to the Grand on 15 and 16 July.

Blackpool Libraries and Arts Services’ Wordpool Family Fun Day was a wonderful event. The atmosphere was filled with arts, colour and, most importantly, giants. This was a well organised event, with beautifully designed maps being a useful way to navigate the various giant lands. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the giants. I cannot wait to return to Stanley Park next year, and dive into a different world.


Images courtesy of Red Snapper Photography.

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