Sunday, 7 September 2008

Sea, sand, spotlights, and a free party

At 8pm when the lights come on it’s a magical moment.
But Blackpool Illuminations isn’t just about bulbs – it’s a celebration of community.
The other people; on the prom, driving by, or in brightly lit trams are part of the show.
Other towns – like Walsall – have illuminations in the park.
But these are the baddest and the best.
Look one way and there’s the cold, brooding northern sea. Turn around and there’s the warmth of the lights, the chip shops, and the children’s smiles.
It’s like a dayglo Dickens.
Everything is normal on the prom. People carry big pink sharks and inflatable aliens – won on the arcades – without a second glance.
The downside is the gradually developing drunkenness. The hens add to the spectacle in their sparkly deely-boppers. But the stags are more intimidation than illumination.
So it’s a sensible move to put all the kids’ displays – Noddy, Treasure Island, haunted houses and the like – half way to Fleetwood and away from all the karaoke bars.
This year there’s an interactive Warholean touch – with some lights made out of pictures of ordinary folk
The illuminations include more than a million lamps, more than 500 floodlights, and spotlights that stretch nearly six miles.
And it’s all free – though there is a non-pushy collection if you want to donate towards the cost.

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