Arundel Festival got off to a spectacular start at the weekend – with plenty more highlights still to come over the Bank Holiday.
Festival chairman Michael Tu said: “The town was packed on Saturday and Sunday, and everyone was very busy. One of the highlights was the mix of music in the square, and the opening ceremony, the flag-raising, was hugely attended, and then there was the classical singing and the children’s choir… It was great! We even had a fire-breathing dragon come down the street. That was an interesting addition!”
The festival opening also saw Illyria theatre company present Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice at Arundel Castle.
“The Shakespeare was sold out on the Saturday and very full on the Friday. The castle were very happy. It was a very small company, just five actors doing The Merchant of Venice, and it was great. Illyria are a very entertaining company.”
Much fun remains to be had over the Bank Holiday weekend which will bring the Arundel Festival to a conclusion.
“We have got 14 boats doing the dragon boats this year. Last year we had eight. I think the dragon boat racing is going to be the biggest spectacle this weekend in the town.”
Hundreds of people will be taking part; hundreds more will be watching.
“And we have also got the 30th anniversary gallery trail taking place. I was trying to get into some of the venues at the weekend, and you barely could. They were so busy. It is getting a great response.”
Bank Holiday Monday will see Arundel celebrate the 1970s – recognition of the fact that the 70s were the decade which saw the Arundel Festival begin.
Monday August 27 will be non-stop: “Join us for a big birthday party in the town square as we indulge in all things 70s from cars to fashion, music to games and more.”
There will also be an all-day vintage Monday funfair and all-day vintage Monday market stalls around the town selling high-quality vintage goods. The day also sees an all-day Arundel treasure hunt, a challenging and fun experience for all the family, involving a short walk around Arundel which takes about one to two hours and costs £8.
From 9.30am-6pm, there will be a display of motor vehicles from the 70s in honour of the Festival’s 40th birthday; and from 10am-4pm Arundel Castle will host 12,000 Years of Combat, tented encampments of five living history groups and many individual historical reenactors.
From 12 noon-10pm Jubilee Gardens will present an eclectic mix of live music and live performance. Programme available from the Red Lion and Jubilee Gardens. The duck race will be at about 3.35pm; and 4.30pm sees a vintage parade and competition. The closing fireworks will be at 9.15pm.