100th St Anne’s Carnival & Family Fun Day

The weekend before last marked the 100th anniversary of the St Annes Carnival & Family Fun Day, and an especially big effort from the organising committee for the celebrations. Things got off to an enthusiastic start with a record breaking procession that included Fylde Acro Gymnastics Club, and first prize winners, Team Zumba Suzy, and more friends from the YMCA.

This was also the first time Fylde Coast YMCA had taken a charity stand, so I came armed with our new gazebo ready to chat to everybody about our activities as a charity supporting local young people… only it was wetter than I’d dared to dread and the pop-up gear I’d expected to set up alone really wasn’t a solo job. Fortunately the lovely Mark Daniels owner of The Little Stage Company rescued me in my hour of soggy despair. I was so relieved. I was missing the 10th anniversary weekend of my favourite festival for this, including an impromptu appearance from Frank Turner, the photos of which were being uploaded on social media by gleeful festival goers the evening before.

The heavy rain early on didn’t spoil the day, however, and the Oldham Scottish Pipe Band livened things up just in front of our stand. Soon hundreds of visitors were milling about and exploring what was on offer with friends and family, from the coconut shy and paintball range to a human fruit machine and other quirky offerings.

The theme this year was ‘A Celebration of Gardens’ and so there were some lovely competition entries for Best Miniature Gardens for 7 and unders and 8-16 year-olds, along with Best Floral Arrangement in a Cup & Saucer for the over-16s. Local primary schools also competed for the best artwork or 3D model of Ashton Gardens.

“The parade was the biggest ever seen in the Fylde with over 70 entries. Thank you to everyone who turned up,” said co-ordinator, Dorothy Aiken.

Carnival Queen,Hannah Jeffrey, presented a £6,000 cheque to the event’s principal charity for 2015-2016; North West Air Ambulance. Later that afternoon, the crowning of the Carnival Queen Elect saw nine-year-old Emma Hanson from St. Thomas’ C. of E. Primary School take her place for 2016-2017 in support of Marie Curie.

“Despite the rain it was quite a successful weekend,” continued Dorothy. “Carnival Queen Hannah Jeffrey presented a cheque for £6,000 to North West Ambulance Service and the new queen was crowned by Fylde Mayor Councillor Christine Akeroyd.”

Entertainment was provided on the Saturday, courtesy of the Swing Band from AKS Lytham Independant School and activities throughout the day at the Arena.

While Saturday was already a dog-lover’s delight, Sunday got under way with a Best Dressed Dog competition, with dozens of incredibly cute and dashing contestants participating. The winner was a dachshund dressed in a traditional green dirndl to match the Bavarian dirndl and lederhosen worn by her owners. This was followed by a variety of traditional children’s games and activities, including the annual Tug-of-War competition.

A number of other charities were also in attendance, with Fylde Marie Curie Cancer Care being the event’s principal charity for 2016. Barnardos, RSPB, Home-Start and many others were also present along with Fylde Coast YMCA. The weekend proved a great opportunity to make friends in the community and network with local businesses. We will look forward to returning in 2017.

You can keep up to date with St Anne’s Carnival on their Facebook page.

Images courtesy of Merlewood Holiday Apartments.

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