Arts Trail crowds bring Bank Holiday buzz to Belper

Belper was buzzing over the Bank Holiday as the Arts Trail sprang into life all over town drawing visitors from near and far.

With more than 55 venues hosting art sales, performances, demonstrations, tours and workshops under brilliant sunshine, the fourth annual event was a spectacular start to the summer.

Captain Dan and his crew meet youngster Charlie Sellers.

Captain Dan and his crew meet youngster Charlie Sellers.

Organiser Suzanne Parnell said: “I’m delighted with how it went. It took a lot of hard work from lots of people, but it was bigger and better than ever. Thank you to everyone who supported it.”

“We got really lucky with the excellent weather, it gave the whole event a lift. The Memorial Gardens had a real buzz with food stalls, a prosecco bar, children’s entertainers and our music stage. It was just fantastic.”

She added: “The feedback we’ve had from the artists is that they’re all ecstatic.

“I think we’re firmly established in people’s thoughts now. It really kicks off the whole festival season for Derbyshire.”

Painting the town with a dazzling array of colours and sounds, the trail drew an estimated 3,000 visitors over two days.

Suzanne said: “The first person I spoke to in the morning had come all the way up from Hinckley, we have visitors from all over the place. It’s wonderful.”

“Other towns have arts trails too, but what everyone talks about when they come here is how friendly and welcoming it is, and how there is so much community spirit.”

The event also brings economic benefits to local businesses, many of whom hosted exhibitions and events.

Suzanne said: “The cafés were all packed, and I think our retailers will be very happy.

“But there are lots of venues who just do it for love too, there’s a lot of goodwill. We’ll be going round to thank everyone personally, because without them, there would be no trail.”

In 2016, trail artists racked up well over £12,000 in sales and Suzanne hopes this year’s final total will be even higher.

But it was also a weekend of priceless memories.

She said: “Every year I get so caught up in the organising, and then I go to see Captain Dan do his pirate show for the kids. We keep trying to kill him off, but they love it so much it blows me away.

“This time I met a little girl and her mum, all dressed up, and they said they’d been looking forward to it for months.”