Town gala falls victim to England’s World Cup success
PUBLISHED: 12:50 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:17 10 July 2018
England’s unexpected progress in the World Cup - and the equally unexpected spell of hot weather - combined to hit visitor numbers at Godmanchester’s annual carnival and gala day.
The event found itself up against England playing Sweden in the quarter finals of the World Cup and blazing hot conditions with some visitors going home early to catch the match.
Stephen Spencer, chairman of Godmanchester Community Association, which is behind the event, said: “Obviously, we battled against the situation with the football being on.
“Nobody expected England to get as far as they did, did they?”
Mr Spencer, himself a football fan, said: “Some people were saying the World Cup was organised four years ago and couldn’t we change the date, but gala day is always held in the first week in July and will continue to be so.”
The carnival procession included a parade through Godmanchester to the recreation ground for the gala event, including arena entertainment which was enjoyed by the spectators.
Mr Spencer said it was the first time that people had left early in order to get home in time to watch the football.
He said the Picnic in the Park music event at the recreation ground the following day had also proved popular, but again, numbers were thought to be down, because of the hot weather.
“At the music event most people were sitting under the trees around the edge which meant it was more difficult to work out how many people were there. Normally, we have a lot of people sitting in the centre but they decided to move into the shade instead,” he said.
Mr Spencer said: “We had a good day on the Sunday but I think numbers were down, although it was difficult to tell.
“All the feedback on Facebook was very positive “
Mr Spencer said they would be looking at making a number of changes, particularly to the musical event, for next year, possibly including reducing the scale to bring it back more in line with its traditions as a Picnic in the Park for local residents.
He said the new security team which had been in place this year had also worked well.