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Blooming fine day out for all

Reporter: Lucy Kenderdine
Date online: 17 July 2017

THE blooms at this year's Oldham Flower Festival will not be in need of a watering for a while.

However, the almost constant rain showers failed to dampen spirits of visitors to Parliament Square as hundreds turned out to enjoy free entertainment and pick up a few gardening tips from experts, including celebrity gardener Katie Rushworth.

Children had the chance to meet everyone's favourite ravenous bug, the Very Hungry Caterpillar, alongside town centre owl mascots Ollie and Millie.

Katie Rushworth, of ITV's Love Your Garden, was impressed with the town's vibrant and colourful displays.

"It really has blown me away," she said. "Even on a really dismal and grey day like today you can see colour everywhere.

"The designs are beautiful and immaculate, especially the town centre display. It's really nice to see how horticulture is bringing together so many different parts of the community."

She met young dancers performing in the gallery and faced lots of questions from green-fingered residents, while giving demonstrations during the festival.

Katie said: "I've really enjoyed my visit to Oldham and it's clear that there are a lot of keen gardeners here."

Friends Margaret Burston and Dorothy Hammond, from Oldham, enjoyed a flower arranging demonstration at the festival.

Margaret said: "It is quite unexpected. I didn't think I'd be flower arranging in the town centre this morning.

"We have really enjoyed it and I will be taking my arrangement home to give to a friend as a present."

Dorothy added: "I've enjoyed looking at the floral displays. They are fabulous and it is a credit to Oldham that so much hard work goes into them each year."

Other entertainment included tall tales with Shed of Stories, vibrant dance and drumming performances from Global Grooves and inventive drama show Seeds.

Nikita Booth, aged four, was also delighted by the entertainment in the square, even taking part in a hunt for mischievous flowers with Oldham Theatre Workshop's Tommy's Field performance.

Mum Jade Booth, from Newton Heath, said: "We didn't know this was taking place, so it has been a nice surprise.

"The kids have loved it and the performances have been quite educational, teaching them about how to look after plants. Nikita has really enjoyed herself and I think it's a great thing to bring families into the town centre."

Meanwhile, Gallery Oldham was buzzing with a hive of activity at its annual Bee Day. Bee dancers performed a waggledance and there was the chance to taste honey. Visitors also saw the queen bee as she was introduced into the new hive.


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