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Opening Parade - South Tyneside Summer Festival 2015

Home > Newcastle Upon Tyne > Festivals | Free | Outdoor | Parks
by Margaret Waters (subscribe)
A former teacher and charity worker from the North East of England, I love people and places and like to try out new experiences wherever possible. Capturing that 'perfect pic' is all part of the pleasure. Access issues are a particular interest.
White Rabbit leads the Way in 'Wonderland' Parade
White Rabbit
Artist Impression of White Rabbit display float for 2015. Image from ST council website

Follow the White Rabbit in this year's opening parade for the South Tyneside Summer Festival.

The 2015 parade commences at 1pm on Saturday 4th July at South Shields Town Hall and adopts the theme of 'Alice in Wonderland'. The adventurous idea of Alice was designed to reflect the author, Lewis Carroll's summertime visits to the region in the 19th Century, when he stayed in the seaside village of Whitburn, which forms part of the Borough of South Tyneside.

With floats depicting such well known and loved characters such as Alice, The Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar and the Queen of Hearts, the parade is headed up by the dizzyingly late White Rabbit, supported by local school children and followed by other characters in elaborate costumes based on illustrations from the story in a showcase that promises to be spectacular.

Costumes created by acclaimed design team, Paul Shriek and Matt Fox, will be the main focus along with music from the shows, ballroom dancing and 200 bunnies performed by infant and pre-school children are all set to come together on the day to create a stunning extravaganza.

Local residents and visitors have traditionally delighted in attending the parade and this year is no different, as it takes its usual route from the Town Hall on Westoe Road along Fowler Street and Ocean Road towards the town's seafront where it concludes. However, the fun doesn't end there as, down at the Bents Park, local radio DJ Gary Philips will be keeping everyone entertained until around 4p.m.

Marching Band in ST parade
Scenes from previous parades

Just about everybody that lives in the town knows someone who as taken part in the parade at some point over decades of summer celebrations, which are funded by the local council to boost businesses and and bring visitors into the town. And it has done with bells on in recent years.

With three beautiful seafront parks, the Bents Park was purposely designed for mass gatherings in Victorian times and has been the mainstay of many exhibitions, festivals and concerts over the years and is part of an extensive array of tourist attractions along the seafront.

The parade marks the start of 3 months of festivities which include a whole host of summer events across South Tyneside, including FREE live Sunday concerts from well known headline acts and supporting artists in the Bents park along with activities for all the family throughout the summer.

Bents Park Exhibition Area
The Two Faces of the Bents Park

So get outdoors and enjoy the summer fun in South Tyneside. You'll soon be grinning like a Cheshire Cat.

Cheshire Cat
Artist's Impression of Cheshire Cat in ST Summer Parade. Image from

Town Centre roads will be closed to traffic and diversions will be in place around the time of the parade, so don't be late for this very important date - especially if you wish to choose your spot along the route.

You can arrive via the Tyne & Wear Metro or Ferry from North Shield, which also provides regular transport into the heart of the town.
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Why? Opening Parade for Summer Festival
When: Saturday 4th July 2015 - 1p.m.
Where: South Shields, Town Hall
Cost: FREE
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