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Bring on the Brollies

An umbrella canopy installed on New Street by Lancaster Business Improvement District (BID) leads the way to inaugural Lancaster Festa Italia and a summer of brolly bonuses!

An exciting umbrella canopy installation on New Street is already creating a talking point across the city centre. Installed by Lancaster BID, the canopy is in red, white and green to promote the inaugural Lancaster Festa Italia which takes place on Sunday 9th September. Hanging proudly from New Street, the canopy will remain in situ in the run up to the Italian festival and will then remain in place until early November, where they will be incorporated as part of the Light Up Lancaster celebrations on 2nd and 3rd November 2018.

Lancaster BID Manager Rachael Wilkinson said: “The idea of the umbrella canopy and Lancaster Festa Italia came from our Levy Payers. Businesses on New Street highlighted the need to promote New Street, following 8 months of scaffolding whilst the roof of the city museum was repaired. It was great that we were able to link the Lancaster Festa Italia event to this initiative, to support a range of businesses operating in the city centre.”

The umbrella canopy has received overwhelming support from local businesses who have also helped to fund the initiative. Local businesses including; Bella Italia, Buccelli’s, Burton and Fisher, Castlegate Security, Central Lancaster High School, Furness Building Society, JOSEPH+CO, Marco’s, Pizza Margherita and The Bridal Collection have all sponsored the umbrella canopy.

Rachael continued: “Being able to obtain funding for initiatives such as the umbrella canopy allows us to stretch our budgets, to ensure that we can carry out a wide variety of initiatives that support different sectors of levy paying businesses within the city centre. We are extremely grateful to the businesses who have sponsored the umbrella canopy and those who are supporting and aiding with the umbrella trail and Italian festival.”

Graham owner of Inspire Gifts & Gallery on New Street, said: “I suggested the idea of an umbrella canopy when I opened my shop last year because I wanted to get people to use the town centre differently, and discover just what a great place Lancaster is for shopping. I’m over the moon that Lancaster BID have helped put New Street back on the map as well as creating a great, semi-permanent, tourist attraction that will bring more people into the city centre benefitting all business.”

Following the installation of the umbrella canopy will be the launch of Lancaster BID’s ‘Bring On The Brollies’ umbrella trail, which will run from Saturday 28th July – Sunday 9th September. The trail will guide participants around Lancaster city centre, with a chance of winning an Italian prize bundle for one set of lucky hunters! As participants follow the trail looking for umbrella stickers in shop windows, they may also find ‘Brolly Bonus’ stickers- meaning a treat is waiting for you inside that businesses! This can range from anything, from a sweetie to a high five, or maybe something a little bit more special! Don’t worry if you can’t find all the brollies in one day, you have over a month to find them all on the 12 locations within the city centre. To take part in the trail, simply pick up your trail booklet from Lancaster Visitor Information Centre, Lancaster Museum or one of the participating Lancaster businesses. Alternatively, you can download the trail from from Saturday 28th July.

Rachael continued: “The idea of the umbrella trail is to give families a free activity to take part in over the summer holidays, as well as promoting the upcoming Lancaster Festa Italia and supporting the businesses taking part. Free activities like trails have proven time and time again that they bring people into Lancaster city centre, who spend money and ultimately support the businesses who make all these activities possible- it’s win win! Participants who took part in our previous Dino-Egg trail spent on average £28.90 per person, with 90.4% of participants visiting a city centre businesses while taking part in the trail!”

With the Lancaster Festa Italia quickly approaching, Lancaster BID are busy finalising details of the event which will showcase all things Italian, from Italian street food to music and entertainment to themed children’s activities and even an Italian vehicle or two! The festival was an idea which was instigated by local businesses Buccelli’s and JOSEPH+CO and developed by Lancaster BID. Lancaster Festa Italia will take place on Sunday 9th September in the city centre from 12pm – 8pm.

Bruno Buccelli, Proprietor of Buccelli’s said: “Since I opened Buccelli’s in 2016 I have seen how much the people of Lancaster love Italy and Italian products. It has always been a dream of mine to run an event like this in such a vibrant city and with the help of Paul Cusimano (of JOSEPH+CO) and the support of Lancaster BID, my vision is coming true. For a small town there are so many Italian businesses from food to fashion. It goes to show with so many successful Italian businesses, in such a small area, that the people of Lancaster must love their Roman roots!”

Lancaster Festa Italia will host a range of Italian stalls and Italian food providers on Market Street and Church Street. These stalls will be complemented by Italian themed entertainment including singers, dancers and a Samba drumming band in Market Square. Market Square will also feature a pop up bar, selling premium Italian brands and more for those who fancy a Sunday tipple! Families with children certainly won’t be bored at this event, with magic shows, juggling workshops including plate spinning, Diablo and a Poi expert; adding vibrancy to Church Street. The Dukes Theatre will also be joining in with the fun, showing a screening of the Italian classic ‘Cinema Paradiso’.

Paul Cusimano, Proprietor of JOSEPH+CO said: “We are aiming to offer the complete Italian experience. The Italian passion for food, life, drink, music, vehicles and more. Italian themed entertainment will be available all day, along with activities for children to enjoy. Lancaster BID staff and volunteers have been working to make this event a reality for months now, with assistance from the Italian Chamber of Commerce. Our hope is to make the event a memorable one and to eventually expand the event into a full weekend event, whilst at the same time ensuring its quality.”

Lancaster BID Manager Rachael Wilkinson said: “We work hard to ensure that we are engaging with our Levy Payers to help their visions become a reality. The idea of Lancaster Festa Italia initially came from two local businesses and has been widely supported by further businesses since. The increased footfall that events like Lancaster Festa Italia bring to the city centre really help businesses to capitalise on the influx of new and returning customers, as well as establishing Lancaster as the place for innovative and cultural events.”

To find out more about the event search ‘Lancaster Festa Italia’ on Facebook or visit

PHOTO CREDIT: Workshop Media



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