Flower Parade ideas wanted from traders

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TRADERS are being urged to come up with suggestions to boost Spalding Flower Parade after raising their concerns with event bosses.

Members of Spalding and District Area Chamber of Commerce discussed the parade with Kenyon Communications director Caroline Kenyon and went through a list of comments which traders had made about this year’s event.

The list included criticism that the town had been closed off too early, that the youngsters involved in the parade in the past were missed and that the event should start and finish in the town, as it did historically.

Mrs Kenyon revealed that Kenyon chose not to enlist Act II and Polka Dot for this year’s event for budgetary reasons – with the pair costing £23,000. She said the fees included set-up costs for the floats and a £10 per child fee.

Mrs Kenyon said: “With the budget we had we were not able to spend £23,000 to have local children involved – it is a lot of money.”

She said that Kenyon Communications will talk to scout, brownie and other young people’s groups to try to involve more youngsters next year.

She added: “It’s a long route for the children to walk and those performing do need to rest.

“We do recognise that it does bring extra people in with grannies and aunties wanting to see their relatives.”

She also revealed that pleas to all of the high street banks in Spalding for help with sponsorship had been unsuccessful and said Kenyon had tried to take a lead from the previous years when it came to timings for road closures and stewarding arrangements.

Occasions Jewellers owner Sue Stubley said Bridge Street retailers were forced to close long before the parade passed and called for better information to be sent out telling them when they would have to shut.

Mrs Kenyon agreed to hand out flyers to traders with road and street closure information.

Ideas raised by members included:

l boosting the number of market stalls

l holding a flower/plant sale on the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field

l having musical entertainment in Hall Place before the parade arrives

l better signage on the roads surrounding the town in the lead-up.

Punchbowl owner Pete Williams also complained about “heavy-handed” security and asked whether children’s groups would take part in the parade for free.

President Jason Rooke said the Chamber would call a meeting specifically for the Flower Parade where traders could put forward suggestions.

Mrs Kenyon said: “It is very helpful to have some feedback and it is so much easier to look at it with one parade under your belt, now we actually know what it is like.

“The first year we had to get experience under our belts and deliver what was, at least, a competent parade. There are lots of things that we want to do.

“We have had lots of feedback and I would absolutely love to have real business support.”

The theme for next year’s event will be “Food Glorious Food” and is set to include an Oliver! themed float with children taking part.