Each Friday in August, Test Valley Borough Council helped to bring a big dose of fun to Andover as it transformed the High Street into a festival.
The Four Fun Fridays project saw a vibrant programme of free street entertainment, live music and creative workshops that all the family could enjoy together.
Performance highlights included; a comedy-boxing match, circus skills training, intrepid explorers ‘flying’ around town in an orange balloon, bell hops inviting visitors to step inside their lift and see where it might take them and a photographer who dressed people up in amusing costumes. A particular favourite act which drew the crowds was Granny Turismo, who performed a hilarious dance display through the town on shopping trollies.
Adults and children enjoyed the various art workshops including giant murals, large colourful letters spelling ANDOVER and an Italian chalk pavement painting in front of the Guildhall.
Julia Fitzpatrick who came to two of the Friday sessions said: “Just wanted to say how much I’ve enjoyed the Four Fun Fridays. The two I attended were fab (and one of those was in the rain!). My eight year old and myself loved the shows and taking part in the art projects. We’re lucky to have this in Andover.”
Philip Sheppard and his daughter Betsy, aged five, joined comedian Fraser Hooper in the comedy boxing match, Philip said: “We both had a great day. It was nice to see audience participation in the acts, particularly with the mime act, which I think young and old found highly amusing.”
In addition to the street artists and workshops was the relaunch of the Andover Heritage Trail, which proved very popular with locals and visitors to the town, even some from abroad. People interested in learning more about Andover joined actors from the Theatre of Dark Encounters on a walkabout tour to explore the many historic places in the town. Many people said they didn’t realise Andover had such an interesting and fascinating history and that they are now keen to learn more.
The Heritage Trail has been made possible through a Heritage Lottery Grant and a partnership between Test Valley Borough Council and Hampshire Cultural Trust. It will now be rolled out to local schools.
The Four Fun Friday events took their inspiration from the Encounters shop project where more than 1,000 people shared their ideas and aspirations for the town.
Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Ian Carr, said: “Local people told us that they wanted the town centre to be a vibrant place, with something for everyone and a sense of a caring community. We’ve had some great feedback from people who watched and took part in the various activities. We’ve also heard from some of the local businesses to say that on Fridays in August they saw more people through their doors and that people seemed happier than usual, which is excellent news.”