One of the most anticipated events on our summer calendar is coming to Bridgend Town Centre this weekend and we're Lindy hopping with excitement! From the world's smallest cinema to wartime replicas, Bridgend Council's Arts Projects Officer, Brent Davies talks us through all we can expect from the big day - and shares some of his top tips for visiting the county.
How did Wartime Bridgend come about?
Wartime Bridgend was started to create a stand out, iconic event in the town centre. There's a lot of history and heritage in Bridgend so it's a way of pulling all that in. This year will be the third year the event has taken place and the numbers have increased every year. We're expecting anything from around 2,000-3,000+ people this year so it's going to be jam-packed!
What can visitors expect to see at the event?
There will be something for the whole family. We've got the world's smallest, cinema coming to town - it's solar panelled and comes with red carpet and usherette service. There will even be a vintage makeover service next door. It's the first time we've had it so we're really looking forward to that! There will also got plenty of entertainment on offer including a fashion parade, a vintage fairground, traditional Punch and Judy event for the kids and a look alike George Formby performing on the entertainment stage.
How will visitors be transported back to the days of World War II?
The event itself will take place on Armed Forces Day. The Royal Welsh Guards will be there, as well as the Royal British Legion and police too. We'll be holding a service at the war memorial near Dunraven Place to start it all off and there will be everything from a bomb disposal unit to a spitfire and dreadnaught boat coming in. Visitors can take in the Home Guard rifle range and toy display and even try 'milking a cow'.
Why else should people come from far and wide to visit Bridgend?
Bridgend is like a miniature Wales - I've lived here all my life so I'm really passionate about it. We've got fantastic mountains and valleys and fabulous surfing beaches in Porthcawl and Rest Bay. The beaches are as good as anywhere in Wales and the mountains are spectacular. We're also in the perfect position for those touring around - you can be in Cardiff or Swansea within fifteen minutes and back in London within just two and a half hours.
What parts of the county do you explore in your spare time?
I like simple things like walking and cycling. We've got great cycling routes that will take you to the valleys and the coast. We've got brilliant walking routes and one of the largest sand dune systems in Europe. If you're getting away from London you could go to the beach, enjoy the many mountain bike trails, explore the dunes or head into the valleys. You'd have a great weekend!
If you could recommend one thing for visitors at Wartime Bridgend, what would it be?
I would be pushed to say just one thing. This year's star attraction is definitely the replica Hawker Hurricane plane in Dunraven Place, considered the workhorse of the Second World War. It's great to have so many people dressed up and wandering around the town. Having Winston Churchill wander the streets is fantastic too. We want Bridgend to be filled with people and most of all for the public to enjoy it. Just come along and have a good time!
You can find more info on Wartime Bridged here: www.carnegiehouse.co.uk
Wartime Bridgend will take place Saturday 15th June, 10am - 4pm in Bridgend Town Centre.