Organisers have pledged that this year’s Party on the Parade will be bigger and better than ever, despite funding setbacks in the run up to the event.
The third annual extravaganza outside the barracks will, for the first time, take place over two days with the introduction of Talent on the Parade, Ceilidh on the Parade and a songs of praise event.
Organised by Berwick Rotary Club in partnership with the North Northumberland Fundraising Group for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, Party on the Parade was launched in 2012, when hundreds of people enjoyed festivities to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee.
Last year’s Party built on the success of the first but this year’s event was thrown into doubt when it was revealed that Berwick Town Council might not provide funding.
However, thanks to a £2000 grant from the Northumberland County Council’s Community Chest Fund, Berwick’s biggest party of the year is back.
“We want to make it a bigger and better event for the town,” said Helen Tait from the fundraising group.
“The jubilee event was so successful we weren’t sure what would happen last year, but it was still popular so we know we can expand it. We’re hoping that Berwick Town Council will help promote the event and we are always looking for volunteers who can come along on the day.”
Talent on the Parade and Ceilidh on the Parade will take place on Saturday, May 24, while Sunday, May 25 will see the traditional tea and beer tent, children’s entertainment and local craft stalls, with the day culminating in songs of praise.
“We are expanding the Party on the Parade concept into a two day event to utilise the marquees that are erected and get more value out of it,” explained Rotary’s Chris Hardie.
“It will allow us to get more segments of the community involved.”
Town sheriff and Rotary member Michael Richardson, added: “Historically in Berwick May was when all the hirings happened, so the town was very vibrant during that period. The May Fair used to be a huge fun fair on the parade area - this was when Berwick buzzed.
“It’s gone from being a Sunday event to involving more of the community. The Talent on the Parade gives people the opportunity to play on a stage, along with more established acts.
“On the Sunday evening, because there are a lot of churches around that area, we have decided to have a fun, family Songs of Praise service for all denominations.
“We want to involve young people as well as older people, and really have what it says - a Party on the Parade.”
The event raises funds for both charities, but organisers say staging an event for the town has become equally important.“We’re trying to do something nice for the community that we live in,” Mr Richardson said. “This is an event for the good of the town.”
Talent on the Parade is an Open Mic Showcase for young and aspiring local talent covering all types of music from classical to rock. Prospective players should book a slot by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 07834 586731. At 7.30pm the tempo changes with the Ceilidh (£6 including food) starting to the tunes of Heads on the Block.
Sunday will see the traditional beer and tea tent, magician/children’s entertainer, craft and produce stalls, food, fun fair and a host of bands and entertainers, followed by Songs of Praise. Volunteers who can help should contact Helen Tait at email@example.com