Time to look to future of parade

Last Spalding flower parade 2013.
Last Spalding flower parade 2013.
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With the dust barely settled on Spalding’s final flower parade, people are being asked to turn their attention to its replacement in 2014.

Although 2013 was the last year the parade will be held in its current form, it is hoped something bigger and better can be organised which will help Spalding retain its place on the tourist map for years to come.

The idea of a people’s parade has already been mooted – but everyone is being invited to have their say on what can be done to bring in the hundreds of thousands of visitors who have visited the town – some coming back years after year – to witness the tulip-decked floats.

It is hoped as many people as possible will attend a public meeting on Saturday, May 18, from 11am to 1pm at Spalding’s South Holland Centre to add their ideas to the melting pot.

The meeting is being chaired by South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes, who has been a keen supporter of the flower parade and is equally eager to ensure something takes its place.

Several meetings have already taken place between interested groups and the ideas so far include a week-long festival of food, flowers and art.

The idea would be that the festival would start on a Sunday, probably in June, with a people’s parade where groups and organisations would create their own entries.

At the start and finish location, there could be a family event.

During the week, there could be music, dance, theatre and arts events, with a food festival rounding off the festivities the following weekend.

Another idea is for a tulip heritage trail over the traditional Flower Parade weekend displaying floats and static features and planted beds of tulips for residents and visitors to visit on foot, by bike or car.

Phil Scarlett, president of Spalding and Area District Chamber of Commerce, said: “I hope everyone has a sense of pride in the way the final parade showcased all the best about Spalding and South Holland.

“Now our thoughts must move to the future and I hope as many people as possible attend the public meeting to shape that future.”

The meeting is expected to be packed, so anyone interested is urged to obtain free tickets from the South Holland Centre box office by Friday, May 17.