An estimated 45,000 visitors flocked to Woodhall Spa this weekend for its 2017 1940s festival, making this the biggest and best event in its six year history.
Despite a rainy start to Saturday, the total visitor numbers surpassed 2016’s record of 40,000, with Sunday proving to be the most popular day due to finer weather. Feedback given to its volunteer committee and to the festival’s Facebook site show the event was a massive success due to the range of entertainment, re-enactments, vehicles, competitions and the “electric atmosphere”.
Chair of the organising Committee Andy Hunter said today: “I’d like to thank everyone who came to Woodhall Spa for our Festival this weekend. This has been the biggest event yet, and it’s a genuine delight to see so many people getting into the swing of things and creating such a wonderful atmosphere across the village. It takes 12 months of work to put this show on, and it really pays off to see just how many enjoy coming along.”
Leader of ELDC Councillor Craig Leyland, Woodhall Spa and Kirkby on Bainechoed Hunter’s comments, saying this morning: “I think the organisers have done a wonderful job in delivering a successful, safe and enjoyable festival on such a huge scale. The level of infrastructure that an event like this now requires is significant, and the fact it is entirely organised by just a few Woodhall residents – all volunteers – says an awful lot about the strength of the community and just what a destination Woodhall Spa has now become”.
Highlights included flypasts by the BBMF on both days, crowned by a Sunday afternoon appearance by the Lancaster Bomber “Thumper”, based at nearby RAF Coningsby, a skirmish re-enactment in the grounds of the Petwood Hotel and regular sightings of a Winston Churchill impersonator who posed for photos with visitors.
Two film crews attended the festival – one filming for Britain’s Best Village for Channel 4 and the other for World War II Treasure Hunters for the History Channel, presented by Madness singer Suggs who happily met visitors on The Broadway on Saturday.
Given the number of visitors, the committee enhanced health, safety and medical cover for the weekend. LIVES responders successfully treated 24 people, mostly for minor injuries and illnesses. LIVES medics, Doctors from East Midlands Ambulance Service and an off-duty paramedic successfully resuscitated a man who collapsed on Witham Road on Saturday following a cardiac arrest. He was transferred to Lincoln County Hospital and is reported to be recovering well.
The upscaled park and ride system, which cost the committee £25,000, coped with the influx of visitors however some traffic challenges remain. Despite many residential roads being marked as No Parking, many flouted the temporary traffic restrictions and Lincolnshire Country Council Highways department issued 52 fixed parking penalties over the weekend.
Chair Andy Hunter said the committee is busy gathering feedback, and will then take a short rest before making a decision on a 2018 event: “An event of this size always requires review so we’re all assessing what went well and what can be further improved, from locals and visitors alike. We take all of what we’ve learned into account before committing to any future date, but we’ll make an announcement shortly”.
Thanks also go to sponsors Petwood Hotel and The Golf Hotel & Aqua Sante Spa – Woodhall Spa, supporters The INN at Woodhall Spa andWoodhall Country Park and to SRP Hire Solutions Lincoln and Nottingham.