Summer season to recreate Margate Winter Gardens glory days
THE Margate Winter Gardens is to recreate the star-studded summer seasons of its heyday.
Paul Palmer, entertainment manager at the much-loved venue, is bringing back the tradition with stars including Paul Daniels, Joe Pasquale and Jonathan Wilkes.
Organisers hope the season, to run over four weeks and cover five weekends, will boost Margate's image as the original seaside town.
At its peak during the '50s, '60s and early '70s the Winter Gardens entertained thousands of visitors every summer.
Acts included comedy greats such as Laurel and Hardy, Tommy Cooper and Ronnie Corbett.
Other stars of past summer seasons include Vera Lynn and Jim Davidson.
Hughie Green's Double your Money had an amazing ten-week run at the venue in 1962.
Mr Palmer has been working on this year's Margate's Summer of Fun since October.
He said: "We used to have a seasons of stars, and in part we have returned to this with our new programme. Margate's Summer of Fun is about bringing back the seaside tradition in a modern and exciting format.
"2012 is the year of the Olympics and the year of the staycation, with more people expected to spend their summer holidays in Britain.
"We felt we had to set the bar high to attract visitors and keep the people at home entertained."
The Luna Cinema has been lined up to screen Dirty Dancing, Jaws and Pirates Of The Caribbean on Margate beach.
Mr Palmer added: "We are very keen to extend the Winter Gardens' summer season across Margate. Margate's Summer of Fun is about joining our attractions together, so that everyone can enjoy what the town has to offer."
Jane Bishop owner of the Walpole Bay Hotel in Cliftonville attended Tuesday's meeting at Turner Contemporary where the new season was revealed.
She said: "I am very pleased there has been an initiative that will appeal to locals and to visitors. There will be something for everyone.
"Turner Contemporary has done an excellent job in bringing people to the town, and as a town we have all got to do our bit to keep raising Margate's profile. I am sure that it will be successful."
Mr Palmer says the programme is the biggest project he has worked on in his six years at the venue. He said: "We have really pulled out all the stops this year. We are not repeating anything we have done before and it is very exciting."
Full details and events listings for Margate's Summer of Fun, from August 11 to September 9, will be revealed in the Winter Gardens' summer brochure released on Friday, May 4.