Crowds flock to Puffin Festival
Amble’s second Puffin Festival drew huge crowds to the opening and closing events, while visitors and locals enjoyed all the activities throughout the week.
The opening day saw glorious weather – a big difference from the torrential rain which forced the postponement of last year’s ceremony. Tommy Noddy the Puffin and his friend Puffin Billy led a group of young pufflings from Brambles nursery in a Puffin Parade across the Town Square. The children’s funfair, stalls and Amble Army Cadet’s climbing wall all proved very popular. Dancing from Tribe Zuza and singing from Harbour Lights choir added to the colour and atmosphere on a lively and community-filled day.
Visitors were of course drawn to Puffin Cruises who were able to put on trips to see the Coquet Island puffins on most days. “We had to cancel a couple of days because of the sea conditions, but it went pretty well over the week,” said Betty Gray. “The interest was there from visitors.”
Traders on Queen Street reported visitor numbers were up and the street was very busy during the week.
“We noticed a difference from last year,” said Debbie and Dean Sayer of Strands gift shop. “And it was nice to see Tommy the Puffin coming along the street and saying hello to everyone. That and the puffin boards and the window trail, made the street feel more a part of the Festival.”
The children’s puffin window trail was won by Malachi Waters-Coates. He won a “Puffin family” from 42 Queen Street.
The festival included talks by local experts on a wide range of topics, from archaeology, to wildlife and local history. A craft fair and a free film screening were held at the Old Storehouse, with many people stating how impressed they were by the new million pound venue.
Beach art, watersports, children’s crafts and guided nature walks also filled up the week’s itinerary.
The Colony music festival drew hundreds of people to the Little Shore for two days of local music. The fine weather contributed to a hugely popular event. Families picnicked on the grass and enjoyed local bands, good food and children’s entertainment. Headliners Fu Fighters and The Range got people dancing as the sun set over the shimmering estuary.
On Sunday, the dog show drew another large crowd and TV vet Jason Atherton judged eight classes which included a fancy dress category.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone. So many people worked together for this, ” said Julia Aston, one of the Festival organisers. “It was a lot of hard work but it has paid off. Businesses, community groups and individuals have all worked in partnership and we want to thank them for everything they have done to make the festival such a success. The idea has always been that we have something unique for visitors to come and find out more about Amble, as well as something fun and interesting for local people too. ”