Lincoln’s RAF100 Weekend more than lived-up to its promises, attracting an estimated 50,000 people to the city during the event.
Lincoln BIG said that early feedback shows the two-day spectacular, blessed with hours of sunshine, was a winner with families, tourists and local shopkeepers and loved by the entertainers who took part.
The city centre, uphill and Brayford Waterfront areas buzzed with the 1940s vibe. Many people dressed for the occasion. Ladies sported Victory Roll hairdos, cheerful tea- dresses and jaunty headscarves. Gentlemen looked cool in period trousers, braces and trilby hats and military uniforms.
Shopkeepers also went to town, decking their premises with bunting and decorating their windows with wartime memorabilia and stallholders were busy selling every imaginable collectable – including antiques.
Everywhere was teeming with visitors, swaying to the nostalgic songs of the Forties and loudly applauding some great dancing routines.
At The Lawn, families enjoyed their picnics, chatted to members of the enactment group Echoes of a Gilded Age, tried their hand at pottery and laughed out loud at Punch & Judy.
The feelgood factor continued in The Strait and the city’s High Street, where Rhubarb Theatre held everyone spellbound with a sketch, where they artfully “crashed their wartime aero plane!”
The dancers also formed into a flash mob – surprising visitors and shoppers in the area near Boots and St Benedict’s Square, where there was also the chance to sit down for a welcome cuppa and delicious cakes in the splendid Brew for the Few marquee.
There was more entertainment from singers appearing on the Lincs FM stage in City Square, battlepipes and charity stalls in the High Street, a replica (sit in) Red Arrow’s jet at St Marks Shopping Centre, vintage vehicles on the Brayford Waterfront, magnificent fly pasts by wartime planes and a showstopping display of fireworks.
Lincoln BIG Chief Executive Matt Corrigan said: “Our Lincoln RAF100 Weekend really lived-up to its promises. It was undoubtedly one of the biggest events we have staged in the city.
“Once again, together with the strong support of our partners, it was great to have the ability to put on a good show across the city centre and offer everyone a warm welcome.
“The weekend involved lots of detailed planning and Lincoln BIG levy players really threw their weight behind it so that it was designed to be good for everyone, from local families to tourists and shopkeepers.”
Visit Lincoln’s website data reveals that, in the month leading-up to the RAF Weekend, there were 30,000 visits to the event pages promoting the weekend’s activities.
Visit Lincoln Chief Executive Lydia Rusling said: “It was a magnificent weekend for the city, which attracted international visitors from Australia, America, Germany and Sweden, as well as friends and family from across the UK. The whole city was vibrant and welcoming with lots of activities combining to create an exceptional showcase for visitors to Lincoln.”
Bells Tea Shop owner and Bailgate Guild Chair Nicky Lockwood said: “It was really buzzing at the weekend. It was lovely to see so many people in their 1940s outfits and that so many of the businesses made the effort to decorate their premises. I’d love to see it all happening again.”
The weekend also saw complementary celebrations at the International Bomber Command Centre off Canwick Hill, near Lincoln. Park & Ride Services running from Nettleham Road (near Waitrose) and from the IBCC to and from the city bus station and city car parks are understood to have been well used.