The number of people attending Summer Festival activities on Penarth Esplanade today is reckoned to be generally up on last year’s rather lack-lustre affair.
In warm and sunny weather crowds flocked to sample the street food being cooked alfresco along the prom and also to watch the major event – the Downhill Derby – this afternoon.
Outdoor food traders, including award-winning restaurateur James Sommerin, said there were definitely more people around this year than last – although as yet no official estimates have been made .
However some people said they felt that – notwithstanding the Downhill Derby – there was a lack of a big lynch-pin attraction at this year’s event and there also seemed something wrong with the whole feel and purpose of the event .
There were plenty of charity stalls and ‘worthy’ local organisations somewhat pointlessly promoting themselves on the sea front – but there seemed to be nothing which captured the community feel and flavour of the old Carnival.
One elderly resident said it seemed a fairly flat event which was not about the town, or by the town and didn’t seem in any way intended for the local townspeople.
There seemed to be little interest amongst the crowd in a big screen relay of the Belgium v England World Cup match to determine 3rd place in the tournament . In any case a lack-lustre and demotivated England side were losing.
The World Cup final will be shown on the big screen tomorrow .
There were no fewer than three bars all selling alcohol on the sea front – with beer at £4 a glass – giving a somewhat tacky “Picnic Penarth” feel to the afternoon’s events.
[ Yet another Picnic Penarth is due to be held next month on the Esplanade despite a plea from Cllr Yvonne Murphy (Labour St Augustines) that it should not go ahead . ]
It used to be against the licensing laws for alcohol to be sold for public consumption out of doors on the Esplanade . One local resident recalled that drinkers in the bar of the long-demolished Esplanade Hotel would be ordered to empty their pint glasses on the pavement if they so much as dared step outside the bar and into the open air .
Now it appears that the Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council is openly encouraging daytime drinking in public places – in direct contravention of South Wales Police attempts to stop underage drinking in the streets.
There is no traditional Punch and Judy show for children on the pier this time. Many left wing councils now deem Punch and Judy shows to be politically-incorrect and beyond the pale even though, in bygone years, Penarth children have been captivated by them.
Fireworks contractors have been at work on Penarth Pier all day getting hundreds of fireworks connected up for being fired electronically in tonight’s display. The firework display begins at 22:30.
The fireworks had been due to begin at 22:30 but actually began at 22:20 causing some people to miss the spectacular show .