Summer bonanza as city to be taken over
by Adrian Troughton
A party programme to make this year's August bank holiday weekend the most spectacular the city has ever seen has been unveiled.
The bumper bank holiday bonanza, which will include the Sky Ride and the Mela, is to be the grand finale to an action-packed summer of fun.
The Summer in the City programme starts in July, with centenary celebrations at De Montfort Hall.
Culture vultures can enjoy a season of events with a Richard III theme, the chance to discover Leicester's art treasures in the newly-renovated Victorian Gallery at New Walk Museum and lots of opportunities to enjoy an event in Belgrave Hall.
The Mela, Sky Ride and the Sports Fest will form part of the City Festival – a weekend of events which also features an Old Town Festival and lots of children's activities in Orton Square.
The events – on Sunday and Monday, August 25 and 26 – will help make it the busiest bank holiday the city centre has known.
City mayor Peter Soulsby said: "This year is an opportunity for us to try out some ideas for a major new event which we hope will become an annual highlight.
"There will be sporting activities, free events for children, and plenty of opportunities to find out more about Leicester's heritage and culture."
On Sunday, August 25, Sky Ride will return on a traffic-free route through the city, with Sports Fest turning Humberstone Gate West into a sporting arena for the day.
Local community and voluntary organisations will be involved, too, with an event called "Our Leicester Day" taking place in the market.
The popular Mela takes over the city centre on Monday, August 26, with live music and dance, a bazaar in the Market Place and stalls in Gallowtree Gate.
A new festival which celebrates Leicester's heritage will bring the old town to life on bank holiday Monday, too, with activities taking place in Magazine Square and the Castle area.
On both days, there will be live music and dance on the Humberstone Gate West stage and plenty of activities for children.
But before the City Festival gets under way, there is a programme of events to commemorate the centenary of De Montfort Hall.
These events include a tea dance with Strictly Come Dancing's Len Goodman on June 16, an outdoor comedy day on July 6, live theatre in the gardens – with Babe The Sheep Pig on July 13 and The Mikado on July 14 – and a concert of popular classics followed by a fireworks display on July 20.
The best of Leicester's music scene will then be celebrated in a two-day event called Simon Says at the hall on July 27 and 28.
Events with a Richard III theme will take place all summer.
A stunning reconstruction of the face and head of the king will form the centrepiece of the Guildhall exhibition, from May 18 until June 9.Details of all the events happening in Leicester this summer can be found at: www.visitleicester.info/ summerinthecity