The race is on in Bowness to mark the start of the Olympic Games
PUBLISHED: 17:12 15 September 2011 | UPDATED: 20:00 20 February 2013
London won't be the only place in the spotlight at next year's Olympics. The race is now on in Bowness to help mark the start of the Games. Emma Mayoh reports PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN COCKS
Bowness is famous for many things and next June it will be back in the limelight. But it has nothing to do with Beatrix Potter.
Bowness is not only a stop-off point for the Olympic Torch Relay but the town is marking the occasion by hosting a spectacular outdoor arts event. It will herald the start of the London 2012 Festival, which celebrates the Olympic and Paralympic Games coming to Britain.
The large-scale celebration, which is expected to attract thousands of people, will take place at The Glebe on the shores of Windermere. It is being organised by Kendal Arts International, the organisation behind events like Mint Fest and Lakes Alive. Its director, Julie Tait, said: This is all about showing what we have to offer to the world. It is the kind of event you might expect in a city centre but we are having it here in a Lake District town.
The centre piece is a show which will have its world premiere in Bowness and will feature original music, drumming and amazing pyrotechnics from renowned French performance group Les Commandos Percu. will follow the arrival of the Torch in Windermere earlier in the evening.
Not only that but this is happening on the opening night of the Cultural Olympiad, the event leading up to the start of the Olympic Games. We really hoped we would get this opportunity - it is absolutely incredible.
This will not only do a lot for Bowness but it will do a lot for the Lake District and Cumbria as a whole.
Over the coming months there will be opportunities for professional artists from the north to work with the highly-acclaimed French company, who will then take the show on tour. Local artists and designers will also be involved in the creation of the costumes and other elements of the show.
The arrival of the Olympic Torch and the staging of an outdoor event like this will no doubt be welcome news for many people in the area. Julie said she hoped the events would not only create excitement on the day but would also leave a legacy for Bowness and the surrounding area.
She said: We want to create something in Bowness that Cumbria and the north of England can really be proud of and which will demonstrate the pioneering and innovative nature of what we do to bring great art to everyone.
An event like this is something that will have very high profile national recognition and where better is there than Bowness, with the stunning backdrop of Windermere, to host such a prestigious and exciting event? We hope that it will not only inspire people to come back here and to other places in the county, but it will also drum up excitement and enthusiasm for culture.
We want people to really take it into their hearts and enjoy what we know will be a very special moment as well as use it as a catalyst for great things.
The event has the support of many local organisations including Cumbria Tourism and South Lakeland District Council, Lake District National Park as well as Olympics tsar Sebastian Coe. It was co-commissioned by the London 2012 Festival, Lakes Alive, the Lake District National Park Authority and the Preston Guild 2012.
Members of the Bowness and Windermere Chamber of Trade want to give as much support as they can. Adrian Faulkner, secretary, said: We were thrilled to hear the torch is going to be coming to Bowness and about the evenings entertainment. It is an incredible achievement for the town and we are one of the few northern locations being given such a big opportunity.
The Queens Jubilee Baton Relay Route came through Bowness when Manchester hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2002. It is very exciting to know that all eyes will be on Bowness as the Olympic Torch comes here.
We want to do as much as we can to support the event and to get the businesses we represent involved. This kind of opportunity does not happen every day and we are proud that Bowness is such a big part of it.
Where is it? Bowness is located in the Lake District National Park, near to Windermere and Staveley. Type LA23 3BX into your sat nav to get you there.
Where can I park? There are several car parks in Bowness, including in Rayrigg Road and Glebe Road. However, in high season parking can be difficult so leave plenty of time for your travel.
What can I do? Take a ride on the lake with a cruise on one of the ferries. Take a look inside The World of Beatrix Potter, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, or enjoy an ice-cream while exploring the streets in the town centre.
Are there refreshments? There are plenty of places to choose from serving cuisine from fish and chips and pub meals to tapas and fine dining