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'Spoo-quay' success for Fright Fest

Friday, 02 November 2012 13:07

A spectre called, a dinosaur stalked the highway and Jinny the Witch was put on trial: all part of what’s been hailed as a spectacular success – the Douglas Fright Fest.


PaulBrattyZSC 4774Organised by Douglas Development Partnership and sponsored by Celton Manx the Hop tu Naa-themed event took place during the afternoon and evening of Saturday October 27th and attracted large crowds – many in suitably frightening fancy dress – to the town centre and North Quay to witness a spectral spectacular.


Development manager Chris Pycroft said: ‘You really had to be there as there were some moments bordering on the truly surreal. At one point there was a 9ft-tall Grim Reaper dancing to “Ghost Busters” played on an accordion by a suit-wearing horse.


Along with an outbreak of zombies and witches throughout the town, there was a touch of the “Sid Vicious” about the dinosaur as it stalked the Strand Centre knocking children over with his tail, and also close encounters with a strange large red ball floating over shoppers’ heads and pursued by equally strange Men in Red. ‘Fright Fest exceeded all our expectations and we’d like to think it could become an annual event.


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'The aim was to create a really fun atmosphere and draw the crowds. That was certainlyHathwayMurrayZSC 4716 achieved, thanks to sponsorship from Celton Manx, assistance from Manx Radio and support from the Steam Packet, together with the efforts of the many street performers who brought a sense of theatre and surprise to the event. Thanks are also due to the general public - adults and children - for entering into the spirit of the occasion and coming dressed in some truly fantastic costumes. ‘One especially positive outcome was that the Fright Fest benefited businesses throughout the town centre.’


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Strand Centre manager John Shakespeare said: ‘That Saturday was the busiest I can recall in the three years since I’ve been manager here. Speaking to all the retailers in the centre, the feedback was the same; they were very busy and trading was up on last year for that day.’


Dave Wookey of Coasters on North Quay said: ‘Fright Fest was fantastic for us. The event was a really family-friendly affair and our restaurant, which is also popular with family groups, was packed and, having spoken to the neighbouring businesses, it’s clear they all benefited, too.’


Celton Manx executive director Bill Mummery said: ‘Celton Manx was delighted to be part of what clearly has proved a tremendously successful community event, one that not only brought a fantastic sense of fun and adventure to the North Quay but also benefited many businesses at a time of difficult trading conditions. We look forward to playing our part in the forthcoming Douglas Christmas lights switching-on ceremony and we share Chris Pycroft’s hope that Fright Fest will become an annual event.’


WitchZSC 4809Jinny the Witch...Gone for ever?


Mr Pycroft does, however, have one regret about Fright Fest. ‘There was one major failure, though. Just before being thrown into the harbour Jinny the Witch escaped in a puff of smoke, to appear cackling on the Tongue before running off into the dark…Perhaps she’ll be back next year.’



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