An all-day street party on Chester’s historic Watergate Street saw thousands of city visitors enjoy a mix of entertainment, games and free samples from local businesses on Saturday.
Organised by CH1ChesterBID, Chester’s Business Improvement District (BID), more than 40 businesses on the street came together for the first ever Watergate Street Festival.
The event included live music throughout the day from The Terry Burgin Blues Band, as well as free carnival games and face painting stations.
Watergate Street traders also took the chance to create pop-up stalls outside of their stores, with businesses including Bar Lounge offering free food samples and drinks, whilst others provided deck chairs, toys and games.
Volunteers from Chester Zoo also joined in the celebration with free craft workshops for children to build their own bug hotels and games linking in with CH1ChesterBID’s citywide ‘Bumblebees and Butterflies’ nature trail, which is running throughout the summer holidays until September 2.
Emily Ghazarian, Events Manager at CH1ChesterBID, said: “It was wonderful to see so many people on Watergate Street over the weekend having fun and supporting their local businesses.
“There was a street party atmosphere all day with a real sense of community spirit, which is exactly what we hoped to create. People of all generations came along and the feedback from our local businesses has been great too, so we’re delighted with how everything went.”
Katie Jones, Manager of Watergate Street toy store, Weasel and the Bug, said: “In the shop, we always have a range of wooden toys out for children to play with, but this festival meant we could bring that outside and turn a section of Watergate Street into a play area.
“There were children playing together all day and it was lovely to see parents stopping and taking the time to have some fun with their little ones. The whole festival has been a huge success and I hope it will become an annual event.”
Paul Bellis, Manager at Games Workshop, added: “There is a real mix of businesses on Watergate Street and it was amazing to see everyone come together for this festival.
“Events like that can make all the difference to businesses like ours. We had two introductory activity gaming and painting tables out in the street, and so many people stopped to get involved and find out more.
“It’s been a great way to encourage new customers and we performed over three months’ worth of introductory activities in just one day – usually with crowds cheering the budding hobbyists along through their games. It really was an absolutely fantastic day.”
A special treasure trail also encouraged children and their families to explore some of the stores along Watergate Row, helping to spread visitors between traders on both levels of the street.
For more information about CH1ChesterBID the full programme of events taking place as part of the Summer in the City, visit http://experiencechester.co.uk/summer/ or follow @CH1Chester on Twitter.