5 Jul 2017
Fantastical creatures and families packed Aylesbury town centre on Saturday, as the Whizzfizzing Festival celebrated children’s literature. A parade including tigers, giant spiders and a huge basilisk puppet kicked off the event (formerly known as the Roald Dahl Festival) before Julian Clary, Anita Dobson and CBeebies’ Katy Ashworth took to the stage in front of crowds of excited children.
With more fun and attractions throughout the town centre than ever before, this year visitors could choose from free and ticketed activities, including fashion shows, talent competitions, storytelling, cookery and a chance to meet authors, hear them talk about their books and learn how to draw their characters.
Afternoon Tea with Tiger in the Bucks County Museum garden cafe, based on Judith Kerr’s books, sold out every sitting and was described by visitors as “magical” and “fantastic”.
Rachael Parslow from Aylesbury said: “It was really good, a lovely day. We met Julian and it was great fun!”
Mum of two Anna Walsh from Fairford Leys said: “We come every year, it’s brilliant! We tell everyone.”
One of the loudest and funniest sessions of the day was Julian Clary and David Roberts, the illustrator of Julian’s The Bolds series of stories. David said: “It’s a really good event, there have been loads of kids walking round with stickers saying “I love books” and it’s great fun doing the session with Julian. You never quite know what the kids are going to say!”
The event was organised by AVDC, supported by Aylesbury Town Council, Aylesbury Town Centre Partnership and other partners. Its expansion for 2017 was enabled by sponsorship secured from local businesses for the first time.
Cllr Angela Macpherson, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Communities, said: “This event was the result of months of hard work. Many families have shared with us how much they enjoyed the day, and this year’s event was the biggest and best so far without a doubt. Huge thanks to all of our generous sponsors, without whose support we couldn’t have provided such a full day of fun, and to those who came along and made it such a memorable occasion.”
Businesses throughout the town centre joined in the festivities, with staff in fancy dress, competitions, free samples and discounts. Planning for next year’s event, which is scheduled for Saturday 30 June, will begin soon.