The Friends of Stanley Park along with Blackpool Council and other organisations are planning a huge celebration – and everyone is invited to come along to enjoy an historic and fun-filled day.
To mark the occasion the official opening ceremony of 1926 will be recreated – and among the specially invited guests will be 95-year-old Edith Wilkinson who attended the first ceremony 90 summers ago and remembers that she and her brother Fred had their photograph taken with the 17th Earl of Derby who originally opened the park.
Edward Stanley, the 19th Earl of Derby will this year unlock the ornate main gates wearing morning coat on West Park Drive at 11am on Saturday 8th July. He will use a golden key as his grandfather did 90 years earlier.
As the official party progresses up Mawson Drive before speeches from the Earl and The Mayor of Blackpool on the café terrace steps, the Earl will be joined by schools from across the town who will be dressed to represent different decades.
The children will later be performing songs and dances at the bandstand. They will also be inviting park goers to join in traditional games such as croquet, hopscotch, hula hoop as well as bounce on space hoppers.
Throughout the park, staff, volunteers, dignitaries and children will be dressed in period costume, from ladies taking a walk in 1920s dresses, newspaper boys in caps, gentleman in blazers, boaters, top hat and tails to schoolchildren appearing as Blackpool’s 1953 FA Cup winning football team cheered on by their supporters. There’s also the opportunity to ‘Meet the Doctor’ at the Tardis when it materialises in the park on the day.
A new audio visual recording which has been produced by Bev Carroll a Friend of Stanley Park will become a permanent feature in the visitor centre and will be played later in the day. Through a mix of voiceovers and images it captures people’s experiences of the park over the years; recording the memories of those that were at the original opening in the twenties including 95-year-old Edith Wilkinson and 101-year-old William ‘Arnold’ Darbyshire who saw the park being constructed.
There will also be a mix of entertainment including the Ukulele Band and the Revolution Choir while Heritage Guides will be offering free trips up Cocker Clock Tower.