Summer activities to celebrate Northampton’s shoe heritage
Residents and visitors to the town are invited to #CelebrateNorthampton this summer by taking part in a wide range of events and activities throughout the school holidays.
Launching at the end of July, Northampton Borough Council and Northampton Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID) will be hosting a number of family friendly activities during the week and each weekend until 15 September.
The activities aim to celebrate the town’s rich heritage, with many themed around shoes and past events, and support local businesses by encouraging more people to spend time in the town centre.
The Borough Council’s partnership with the Looking Glass Theatre helps to get the summer started on 20 July, with the first of monthly summer history tours. Building on the success of previous tours, they will take place at various locations in the town centre, at least twice a month, and will cover topics such as ‘Famous Figures’, ‘Rebels and trades’ and ‘Hidden secrets’.
The Council’s Market Square beach quickly follows from 23 July, bringing all the attractions of the seaside to the town centre. A giant sand pit, deck chairs and fair ground rides will be open every day until 31 August, weather permitting.
A newly developed shoe sculpture trail will also help followers to discover new parts of the town. Located in key sites, people are encouraged to seek out all 12 shoe sculptures, which are sponsored by local businesses and shoe manufacturers, and post selfies of themselves using the #CelebrateNorthampton hashtag.
Four heritage focused days lead activities in August, with a fun catwalk show, classic bus tours, and theatrical mystery tours taking place several times a day on 5, 6, 7 and 8 August. In addition, an interactive heritage treasure quest on 17 August offers something a little different to do for any competitive minded groups out there.
Children will get the chance to meet Northampton’s boots wearing giant on Saturday 10 August. Created by Festive Road for the Borough Council, the giant will be sharing fun stories on the Market Square at hourly intervals between 12pm and 3.30pm.
The new Northampton Memories project, brought to you by Northampton Town Centre BID, launches on 26 August. The project is all about celebrating the town centre’s unique history, with photo displays popping up in shop windows until 14 September.
September sees the return of the popular Northampton Town Centre BID Street Circus. Many of the UK’s best street entertainment acts, including stilt walkers, dancers, contortionists and comedians will be entertaining shoppers on the Market Square on 7 September.
Heritage Open Days help to bring proceedings to a close on 14 and 15 September. More than 30 historic venues across the town will be opening their doors to the public across the weekend, with many linked up by a free heritage bus service from Georges’ Row.
Councillor Anna King, Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “Responding to the Overview and Scrutiny report on heritage, we’ve worked hard with Northampton Town Centre BID to develop plans which celebrate our rich history, raise awareness of local shoe companies and support businesses.
“We’re really excited to be launching the activities on 24 July, most of which are free to the public, and encourage as many people as possible to come along and enjoy the summer fun.”
Mark Mullen, BID Operations Manager, added: “By working together we have created a fantastic series of events, all designed to entice visitors into the town centre while also celebrating our town’s unique heritage and cultural offering. Wait until you see what we have planned for Christmas!”
More information about all of the events and activities taking place throughout July, August and September is available from 24 July in the #CelebrateNorthampton this summer brochure as well as at lovenorthampton.co.uk