Temperatures were soaring but visitors to the Lea Park 50th Anniversary Festival were feeling chilled as the community celebrations got underway.
Travelling alfresco, a Lister carriage traversed the fields to bring Festival Royalty from Frances Olive Anderson School and Helen Leone, Chair of Lea Parish Council, to an opening ceremony. Colourful confetti canons erupted to a joyful crowd and the family fun began.
Lincolnshire band Fair Warning were in fine form, playing numbers from across the decades. Mobile Structures provided the Big Top setting for craft stalls selling handmade wares which offered the unique opportunity to find something special. The Pop-Up Pantry Market Stall, elegantly supported by The Women’s Institute, offered delicious cakes and bakes.
Local historians, The Delvers, delved into Lea history with a fascinating array of archived information. Did you know that there used to be a convent on Lea Park? Every day is a learning day and people were fascinated by a first-class education.
The display of classic cars and tractors knew how to roll with it as they showed-off timeless age. Fitness staff from West Lindsey Leisure Centre were in force and physically encouraging all to take up more exercise. The park is home to Lea Park Tennis Club where they made a racquet during their have-a-go sessions. The Gainsborough Bowmen and Sea Scouts chucked axe-throwing into the ring and the scene was set for sports galore.
Some spectators took the chance for a well-earned rest while they watched performances from DanceGems Belly Dancers, G Town Dance Crew and Kesteven Morris Dancers. Who knew that waving a hanky and ringing bells could be so much fun!
A top salute was required when visiting the RAF Cadets stand and seeing them marshal the traffic and keep the ground in top-flight order.
There was a man on stilts with the circus skills to spin plates and juggle bean bags. Children were invited to have a go too and undiscovered talents were unmasked during wondrous workshops with Feet First Entertainment. For an old-fashioned flavour without the trek to the seaside there were ice-creams, donkey rides, swing-boats and a charming carousel. Adventurous climbers conquered new heights when they scaled the earth defying 30-foot wall known as ‘The Edge’.
Finger-licking good food vendors offered everything from a sandwich to a hog roast so no one went hungry. As the sun set and the night sky was silently struck by lightning, Schuggie’s Scottish Barn Dance had the crowd twirling and a-whirling! Bagpipes never sounded better.
All this and much more unfolded as Lea Parish Council marked 50 years of owning Lea Park. Last year, The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee opened with The Gainsborough Musical Theatre Society. This year, their rousing voices brought even more people together with many contributors having offered their services and time for free.
The park is a focal point, the wooded area offering peace and tranquillity which encourage mental wellbeing. Laybos and Shine combined forces to hold a stall to raise not just money but also awareness for those suffering with mental health problems. Despite its prevalence, mental illness and suicide can still be difficult for people to discuss.
Also sponsored by West Lindsey District Council, Lea Park 50th Anniversary Festival promoted physical activity, engagement with the great outdoors and made memories for people young and young-at-heart.
Helen Leone spoke of her gratitude to everyone that had helped make the magic happen: “We thank and are truly grateful to everyone who has supported us. People have come together to work towards a common goal. The smiling faces say it all; it’s been amazing.”
Maybe you can spot your smiling face? Visit www.victorialouisephotostudio.pixieset.com/leapark-50thanniversaryfestival to glimpse if you have been caught on camera.