It’s funtastic, it’s on the Flag Market and most of it’s absolutely free.
That is the message to the whole of Lancashire as Preston gets ready to launch into a sizzling summer of city centre spectaculars.
Crowd-pullers like the colourful Caribbean Carnival, Preston’s Strongest Man competition, the Prestfest music gig, the city’s Mela cultural celebration and Preston City Wrestling are all part of an exciting 13-week programme aimed at making the city the county’s events capital.
But exciting new additions mean there should be something for everyone in the super summer of 2017.
“We’ve got a great summer coming up,” said Tim Joel, events and cultural services manager for the city council.
The whole thing kicks off on June 3 and continues through to August 26.
Coupled with other events going on around the city through the summer months, it promises to be Preston’s biggest public knees-up outside the world famous Guild.
“Events are an absolute necessity to increase vibrancy and encourage visitors the city centre,” said Mark Whittle, manager of the Preston Business Improvement District (BID).
“On average people attending a city centre event will contribute over £30 per person to the local economy.
“Not only are events great for the family, but they’re good for business too.”
The summer programme includes something for almost everyone with arts, culture, music, theatre, dance, workshops and more than a little muscle.
It all gets underway in just three weeks.
And there won’t be a single blank weekend until the end of August, with something to draw folk into Preston every Saturday and hopefully bring som extra welcome trade for hundreds of city centre businesses.
Here is the programme of events:
June 3: Making a Mark (12-4pm) - An explosion of art on the Flag Market and in the Harris Museum.
The public will be asked to paint a picture, or take a photo, or join an artist creating a large scale perspective art piece. They will also have the chance to get up close to live drawing in the Harris gallery and to sand and perspective pictures on the Flag Market.
June 10: Urban Astronaut (12-4pm) - A new concept for a walkabout piece and physical performance exploring the environmental issue of air pollution.
An aerial performer dressed as a damaged astronaut will be suspended up to 20-feet in the air, walking as if without gravity, in what is described as a “bold new direction in physical theatre.”
June 17: Crowning of the Caribbean Carnival King and Queen (12-4pm) - The taster for the full carnival eight days later on Sunday June 25. In addition to the coronation, visitors will be able to see some of the colourful pieces which will be in the procession.
June 24: Armed Forces Day (11-5pm) - The annual event which celebartes Preston’s armed forces, will begin at 11am with a formal service including military bands and veterans.
Military equipment will be on display on the Flag Market, including a Spitfire fighter plane and a Challenger tank, both supplied by local military museums. It is also hoped to have a fly-past, weather permitting.
July 1: Youth Music Festival and Derelict 17 (12-4pm) - Musical performances both inside the Harris and on the Flag Market including some emerging national and international artists.
July 8: Prestfest (7pm-11.30pm) - The city’s celebration of its award-winning night-time economy with performances from international stars Tom Zanetti and Fatman Scoop.
Zanetti has amassed an incredible 16m plays on his YouTube channel. Scoop is a Grammy Award winner who is promising to rock the crowd with an energy-filled set. There will be an admission fee.
July 15: Superhero Academy (12-4pm) - An interactive workshop for young people to create a superhero identity on the Flag market.
July 22: Preston Tringe Festival (12-5pm). The full festival is from July 21 to 30. An exciting mix of theatre, comedy, dance, music and more.
An open-access festival set up by a group of enthusiasts from Preston-based theatre company Screaming Theatre.
July 29: Preston’s Strongest Man contest (10am-4pm) - Contestants will pit themselves against each other with a series of stength and stamina tests from a log lift to a truck pull and a car deadlift.
August 5: Preston Mela (12-4pm) - A vibrant celebration of South Asian culture will fill the Flag Market with the sounds of modern and traditional music, featuring performances from local musicians and dance groups.
There will also be plenty of aromatic South Asian cuisine to sample.
August 12: Preston City Wrestling (12-4pm) - The fighters return with an outdoor wrestling show on the Flag Market.
August 19: Feast for Peace (12-4pm) - An event to celebrate Preston’s cultural diversity with plenty of opportunities to eat, listen to music and dance together.
August 26: Blaze Lounge (12-4pm) - A platform for emerging musicians to perform new music and reach new audiences, featuring some of the North West’s best up-and-coming musicians.
Other events through Preston’s big summer include the huge Rockpreston festival at Moor Park on July 1/2 featuring tribute acts to AC/DC, Guns and Roses, Kings of Leon, Bowie, Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Greenday, Muse and Stereophonics.
Tim Joel added: “Once again we have a fantastic programme of events, performances and family activities throughout the summer in the city.
“Favourites are returning, but we also have new performances of street theatre, dance and art workshops.
“A majority of the Saturday events are aimed at families, are free, and provide something for everyone.
“ A large number of the Flag Market events feature inside the Grade II listed Harris museum, gallery and library providing visitors even more to do.”