Fleetwood’s annual transport and arts festival returns this Sunday, July 19. Now into its 30th year, ‘Tram Sunday’ – as it is known colloquially – is one of the biggest free events of its kind in the North West, regularly attracting hundreds of vintage vehicles and thousands of visitors to the streets of Fleetwood
Since 1985 the Festival – which started in connection with the Centenary celebrations of the resort’s tramway – has continued to grow in size and scope, although has struggled financially over the last few years, in part due to poor weather and the tramway upgrade project. However, since rejuvenation and overhaul in 2013 the event has continued to go from strength to strength, including the addition of the SpareParts Arts Festival, in conjunction with Wyre Council and LeftCoast.
For the duration of the day the Town Centre’s roads will be closed to traffic from Fisherman’s Walk (Ash Street) right through to Fleetwood Ferry. Replacing the usual hustle and bustle will be a variety of displays and attractions, including around 30 vintage vehicles from the Tameside Car Collection, including a number of vehicles used in television shows and period dramas. Also on display will be a large number of privately owned vehicles, including iconic classic cars and nostalgic vintage buses.
Blackpool Transport’s Heritage Tram Tours will also be serving the event, operating special extended tours between the Pleasure Beach and Fisherman’s Walk every twenty minutes, in addition to the regular tram service to the town. Six of the company’s collection are anticipated to be in use, whilst two of the oldest vehicles, the Blackpool & Fleetwood 40, dating from 1914, and the Bolton 66 – which is 100 years old this year – will be on display within the Festival itself. Visitors to the Festival are also reminded to look out for the Fleetwood Freeport tram, with its distinctive over-sized seagulls displayed on each side, which will also be on display within the Festival site.
Also available to ride on will be a number of fairground attractions, adding to the Festival’s carnival atmosphere throughout the streets. The Festival will open on the Sunday morning with a Civic Parade led through the streets by the town’s Crier and other invited dignitaries.
For 2015, the SpareParts Arts Festival has also been vastly expanded, with five themed areas centered on the Marine Hall, Euston Gardens and the Esplanade. The highlight is anticipated to be Extraordinary Bodies, an integrated circus company who created one of the Olympic opening shows. They will perform their new show Weighting outside Marine Hall – flying high above the audience. Also in attendance will be some of the UK’s premier performing arts groups, including Bicycle Bistro, The Lollipop Patrol, and the Lost Luggage Porters.
The Fleetwood Festival of Transport takes place all day on Sunday, July 19 throughout the streets of Fleetwood. Entry is free although some attractions may have a surcharge.