From This Is Kent

THE Red Arrows are set to thrill thousands at the Folkestone Jubilee Airshow, the Herald can reveal.

Accompanied by the Tiger Club Turbulent Display Team, a De Havilland Tiger Moth and a host of others, the iconic aircraft will soar above The Leas on Saturday, June 2, to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and as the centrepiece of this year’s celebrations.

The Herald – which is media sponsor to the event – reported last year that Folkestone Town Centre Management (FTCM) planned to hold a “grand festival” this year, to mark the Jubilee, the London Olympics and to celebrate everything Folkestone has to offer.

In August, we revealed that an airshow, not seen in Folkestone since 2003, was to return and now many of the participants have been confirmed.

Town centre manager John Barber said: “The first weekend in June is going to be very exciting.

“We’re just bringing the programme together now. At first, we just thought we’d just have a series of street parties, then the possibility of a small-scale airshow came up – and it’s taken off more than we originally thought.

“We’ve been confirmed in the national calendar, we’re going to take up all The Leas and the seafront – and we’ve got the Red Arrows.”

Also confirmed for the Saturday, between 1pm and 5pm, are a number of smaller display teams. On the morning of the same day, the Lower Leas Coastal Park will be transformed by schools, groups and businesses into a fete ground with stalls and activities.

The following day, the harbour area will be transformed to resemble Covent Garden, but with a 1950s theme, complete with rollerskating waitresses, musicians, actors and entertainers.

But the first weekend is only the start of a month of non-stop activity in Folkestone. The Multi Cultural Festival will be held on June 8 to 10, followed by the Charivari parade on June 16.

The following Saturday and Sunday will be a vintage-themed weekend and on June 30, a “last night of the Proms” concert will be held on The Leas, featuring the Kent Concert Orchestra.

Barbara Witham, from FTCM, said: “We hope to have half a dozen events every day in June. We’re looking at a wandering pub quiz, games like welly-throwing, an eating competition, a chilli and chocolate festival – there’s going to be something for everyone.

“I think this year is going to be wonderful. Folkestone will be amazing and amazed.”

Mr Barber added: “It’s thrilling. Folkestone was always known as a festival town and we want to recreate that so whenever people come, there’s always something going on.

“Whether the airshow will bring money into the local economy, we don’t know but we’ve been told that with the Red Arrows, and the Vulcan which we could have, we’re talking about 100,000 to 200,000 people.

“Hopefully the retailers will embrace it, and the rest of the festivals, and we can bring the feel-good factor back to Folkestone.”

Anyone interested in sponsoring the airshow should call FTCM on 01303 850522 or e-mail eventioneventslimited@gmail.com, a new Folkestone company which has carried out much of the work organising the show for the weekend.

For the Jubilee weekend, FTCM hopes as many people as possible will be involved.

It has asked tenants of the Creative Quarter to consider joining in the fun by displaying themed artwork or creations in windows and possibly working alongside the weekend’s activities.

The organisers also hope to hear from street performers, including mime artists, jugglers, singers, clowns, stilt-walkers, musicians and singers.

Any new ideas, suggestions or offers of help, for that particular weekend or any other, should be e-mailed to eventioneventslimited@gmail.com or call FTCM.