SALFORD residents hailed a lantern parade, fire displays and theatre at an event to mark the regeneration of the city’s Peel Park.
The Fire Garden Event saw Salford Arts Council team up with Salford-based culture group Walk the Plank and other Salford groups to create fire sculptures, smoke displays, dance, music, poems and lanterns across the park.
Local Salford families and residents were invited down to the park to witness the event on Friday night, hosted in celebration of Peel Park’s history and future and incorporated the unique characters and events that shaped the Victorian park.
The project was directed and managed by Ben Turner of Walk the Plank, who said:
“We wanted to encourage people to see the park in an interesting way, and let them know that it’s a local resource for everyone to use and enjoy.
“We also wanted to celebrate Joseph Brotherton and the park keepers who worked in the park in the past so had a couple of actors playing those parts.
“Brotherton led one of the lantern processions and a band led the other – there used to be a bandstand in the park – and the spirit of the park-keepers welcomed the light back into the park.
“It was a great project to work on – lots of community groups got involved.
“It was great to see so many people in the park – promenading and having a walk in the fresh air … the weather helped as well!”
Local artists and writers were involved with creating the spectacle, including Mancunian poet Louise Wallwein.
She visited the Working Class Movement Library and Salford Lads’ Club to collect stories and memories of Peel Park from local Salfordians, from which she was able to write a poem in the park’s honour.
Salford resident Ellie Adams attended the event with her children, she said:
“It was a brilliant event for families and children, the fire displays were amazing and exciting especially for the kids.
“The lantern parade and dancing were our favourite parts, I will be definitely bringing the whole family along for the reopening event next year.”
Peel Park is thought to be one of the world’s first publics parks, opening in 1846.
The park is in the midst of an ongoing regeneration project aimed at providing a safe, social hub for Salford residents.
The re-opening of the park will be marked with a launch event in Spring 2018. To find out more about the restoration or about future events head to the Salford City Council website.