More seaside fun days are desperately needed

WHAT Felixstowe desperately needs is more events.

Wouldn’t it be great to have attractions like the historic vehicle rally or the seafront fun run every weekend throughout the late spring, summer and early autumn?

It is estimated the old cars brought around 14,000 people to the prom to see some fantastic motors and re-live memories of vehicles they once owned, enjoy a stroll by the sea, a bag of chips and an ice cream.

The fun run may not be in same league for attendance, but again there was a big crowd around the circuit cheering on the 620 entrants, bringing colour and life to the seafront.

These sort of events should be happening every weekend, bringing daytrippers and boosting trade for businesses throughout the town.

The resort used to have a packed calendar of fun – the old cars, Easter bonnet parade, pram race, Ride East motorcycle show, cycle races, Autotest, Folk Festival, Rotary Road Races and fun run, two carnivals, fuchsia festival, flower show, furlong of coins, raft races . . . and more.

Some survive, but most are now gone from the annual events list.

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The Autotest, raft races and Folk Festival were probably the biggest losses – huge events which drew thousands to the town.

Other seaside resorts recognise the need to have regular events to give a fresh reason to visit and something to do when people arrive.

My wife and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with a weekend in Purbeck last summer. We walked from Corfe Castle to Swanage (lazily taking the steam train back!) and found the town packed with visitors for a Second World War weekend.

It wasn’t a grand or costly event to stage – a VE Day-style street party on the seafront for all to join in, a fair on the clifftops with stalls, a band, 1940s dancing and a display of memorabilia – but it was certainly pulling in the people.

The previous weekend Swanage staged a Victorian Celebration, and the next it was holding an Arts Week, with a jazz weekend, folk festival, carnival and regatta on the following weekends.

To its great credit, Felixstowe Chamber of Trade and Commerce recognises the problem and is trying to organise fresh events.

A beer festival, motorcycle show and a retro fair are planned for the town centre, which is a great start.

Let’s hope the ideas start to snowball and enough people come forward – for I fear it’s enthusiastic and committed volunteers we need in this Big Society world – to get a few more off the ground, too.

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