Sparks Will Fly in Southend this weekend!
Southend will get its first taste of Olympic fever on Saturday (June 23rd) when it becomes the latest town in Essex to host the county-wide ‘Sparks Will Fly’ cultural extravaganza.
‘Sparks Will Fly - Southend’ is one of a host of celebrations taking place across the county in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.
And the FREE event should prove to be a mouth-watering taster of what lies in store when the Olympic Torch Relay comes to the town on Friday 6th July.
Central to this Saturday’s Sparks Will Fly event will be the Southend Carnival Parade which will see scores of brightly coloured floats travel from Southchurch Park to City Beach. This year’s parade will be led by Marina Mightier, one of two giant ‘Champions’ chosen as ambassadors for Sparks Will Fly. In addition to the usual floats Marina’s entourage will include a ‘colour party’ of 50 dancers from Shoeburyness High School and the Southend Air Cadets Marching Band.
Upon arriving at City Beach she will be presented with a special commemorative glass bead by the Worshipful the Mayor of Southend, Councillor Sally Carr. Marina and her fellow champion Boreas Zephyr have been collecting glass beads representing every district and borough in Essex throughout May and June.
The beads will take centre stage at the culmination of ‘Sparks Will Fly’ in Chelmsford’s Hylands Park on July 6th, the day the Olympic Torch Relay visits the county.
Marina and Boreas will use them to play ‘The Game’, pitting their strength against each other as they conjure up the beads of wind, water and fire in a spectacular fiery showdown.
Southend’s bead, created by artist Dave Taylor, will be presented to the Mayor on a derelict dinghy transformed into a beautiful boat by students from South Essex College. Students studying for their extended diploma in 3-D design made the boat as part of their course work. The group of 11 submitted their proposed designs and then all collaborated to help create the best one chosen. The eye-catching vessel will be on show until Friday (22nd June) at Unit 19 of the Royals Shopping Centre, Southend. It will then be hoisted onto a trailer and used to carry its unique cargo to City Beach as part of the Southend Carnival Parade.
As well as embracing this year’s carnival ‘Sparks Will Fly – Southend’ will feature a whole range of other cultural and sporting activities. Selected acts from the Leigh Folk Festival will break away from the main performance areas in Leigh-on-Sea to appear at Warrior Square Gardens from 1pm to 5pm.
Southchurch Park will play host to the ‘SX Urban Games’ and a number of unique opportunities for people of all ages to try their hand at different activities. From 11am to 4pm people of all ages will be able to try a huge variety of activities including archery, cycling, mini tennis, rhythmic gymnastics and Bollywood dance.
The sessions will also feature freestyle basketball, break dancing, parkour, skateboarding, cheerleading, street dance, BMX, football, live music and much more. Southend Marine Activities Centre on Eastern Esplanade will be offering free water sports taster sessions in sailing, windsurfing, jet skiing and kayaking from 1.30pm to 5.30pm.
A ‘Battle of the Bands’ competition will take place where local groups will have a promotional video of themselves performing uploaded onto the Southend Festival Facebook page.
Facebook users will be able to vote for their favourites and the five most popular acts will get the opportunity to perform live at Chinnery’s on Marine Parade in front of a judging panel at 7pm. Prizes for the best bands include a recording session with Maple Studios, the chance to have a track mastered by Spearhavoc Records as well as a £500 voucher for music store PMT.
The winner will also get the chance to perform at the UK’s biggest independent festival, Brownstock, whose stage was graced last year by the likes of Example, Pendulum and Athlete.
Other attractions will include:
‘Learn to fish’ taster sessions from Southend Pier (10am to 6pm)
Funky Voices Choir at Victoria Circus (11am to 11.30am), Victoria Shopping Centre (12noon to 12.20pm) and Royals Shopping Centre/Royal Square (1pm to 1.20pm)
Pandemonium Samba Group at Royal Square (11am)
Brasil Arts at Victoria Circus (11.30am to 12noon), under the High Street railway bridge (12.30pm to 12.50pm) and Royal Square (2pm to 2.20pm)
Pandemonium Circus Act at Royal Square (11.20am)
Jive Swing Dancing Performance at Royal Square (12noon), Victoria Circus (1pm to 1.30pm) and Victoria Shopping Centre (2.30pm)
Pandemonium clowns and roaming characters in the High Street, Royal Square and under the railway bridge (from 12noon)
Pandemonium Street Theatre performance at Victoria Circus (12.30pm)
Pandemonium Pop-Up Scene performance outside the Royals Shopping Centre in the High Street (1.30pm)
Pandemonium Red and Green Men performance at Victoria Gateway (2pm)
the ‘Busking Out’ street performance festival at City Beach (12noon to 3pm)
Farmers and Craft Market in Southend High Street to coincide with National Markets Day (11am to 3pm) and an RNLI Open Day at Southend Lifeboat Station (12noon to 4pm)
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Executive Councillor for Culture and Tourism, Derek Jarvis, said: “I’m really looking forward to Saturday – it’s going to be a very special day.
“We intend to make our Sparks Will Fly event a real spectacular which will be the envy of the whole county. As well as the fabulous Carnival parade there will be a whole host of other events going on across the town. The 2012 Olympics are just weeks away now and Sparks Will Fly is Southend’s way of warming up for the arrival of the Torch Relay on July 6th so I urge everyone to join in the fun!”
For a full list of events and times go to www.facebook.com/southendfestival or www.SparksWillFly.org.uk
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