Running Away to the Circus

Ever fancied running away to the circus or forging a brand new career as a tightrope walker?

Picnic in the Park is delighted to have Party Workshops return again this year with their family circus. Saturday 14 July will also see them introduce a Stilt Walker and a Giant Bubble Workshop to the festival. So this got us thinking about the history of the circus, and about the star of the popular film, ‘The Greatest Showman’, P.T. Barnum. The Romans used the Latin name circus to describe circular arenas for performances and contests.

Philip Astley (1742-1814) is known as the Father of the Modern Circus. But his show started out as a platform for amazing horsemanship and tricks. He opened up a riding school in London, which featured a circular arena that he called the circle, or circus. This enabled everyone to get a good look at the rider. It was a big success and in 1770 he decided to add some novelty acts including acrobats, jugglers, rope-dancers, and clowns, thus combining entertainment with strength and agility.

So what of P. T. Barnum? Spoiler alert – he didn’t look like Hugh Jackman!

He did indeed run a museum first, showing curiosities such as the ‘Feejee Mermaid.’ After a European travelling tour with ‘General Tom Thumb’ he met Queen Victoria. But it wasn’t until 1871 that he went on the road with ‘The Greatest Show on Earth.’ This included ‘The Bearded Lady’, who was called Annie Jones. It became the most popular circus of its day and the largest.

‘The Greatest Showman’ movie is obviously a Hollywood version of the truth. Many would argue that exploitation was his main driver, and indeed he wrote a book called, ‘The Art of Money Getting.’ Some of his last words were reported to ask what the circus tickets sales had been.

The 20th century saw another development with training schools for circus performers. So if you fancy a life change (wait until after 14 July!), why not go and do a degree in Circus Arts?

Come and try your hand at juggling and lots of other circus skills at Pattishall Picnic in the Park on Saturday 14 July – you know you want to!!!


The perfect Picnic in the Park

The summer is coming and so is Picnic in the Park. We all love the summer and everything it encapsulates; the long, hot, sunny days (hopefully), scrumptious BBQ aromas coming from people’s gardens, all the trees and flowers being in full bloom, flip-flops, a cheeky glass of vino (or three) with friends on a balmy summer evening, eating alfresco style, paddling-pools, picnics and possibly some live music at the outdoor music venue of your choice – Pattishall Picnic in the Park, obviously! But how do you have the perfect picnic, what should you include in the ‘oh so important’ picnic hamper? We have put together our idea of the perfect picnic day out to give you some inspiration.).

It all starts with (believe it or not) your choice of clothes, you want to be comfortable as you are most likely to be sitting on the ground at some point (unless you are posh and super organised and you have your own chairs). Shorts are always a good option, complete with a pretty top (for girls) and a trendy t-shirt/short (for the guys). Complete the summer look with a pair of your favourite flip-flops or sandals and get those toe nails manicured and painted to add a little colour. If you are planning on staying late, a jumper or cardigan in case it gets chilly is a good option too.

Next on the agenda is what to pack food-wise. The perfect picnic would be packed and stored in a lovely wicker picnic hamper, complete with plates, cutlery, drinking equipment and for those that enjoy the finer things in life, a couple of champagne flutes too. Depending on your budget and food tastes, sandwiches are a no brainer but it is all the little extras that help to make that picnic perfect. Cocktail sausages, cheese and biscuits (maybe some chutney and/or pickle), chicken drumsticks, slices of apple and pear, pork pies, olives perhaps and, of course, to round it off with that sweet taste of summer, some strawberries are a must have. Don’t forget the soft drinks too for the kiddie-winks or those that are driving.

So, you have your clothes on and your picnic hamper packed. Now it’s time to remember the other important elements to help make your day perfect. These extras include the picnic blanket, sun cream, sun glasses, wipes (for those sticky fingers), sun hats if you or your family are prone to turning a bit pink and the all important camera to catch those precious moments.

All set, ready to go … now get out there and have a fabulous day at Pattishall Picnic in the Park or wherever your picnic venue is and, should you have forgotten anything, you can always bring some pennies to spend during the day. Have fun people!

The importance of volunteers at Picnic in the Park

Picnic in the Park is a community event run by unpaid locals whose motivation is to put on a superb family music event for the local community but at the same time raise funds for worthy local causes (read more about our mission here).

The event is the culmination of a years work on behalf of a small organising committee, a team of 8 people (mostly residents from Pattishall, however, there are a few from surrounding towns and villages).

However, the event needs more than eight people on the day to coordinate the 1500 people who will attend. Of course, there is also the set up on the day before, and the obligatory clear up the day after which all need manpower.

Getting volunteers is traditionally left to the last minute putting added pressure on the organising committee (normally family and friends being called upon).

This year we are pleased to have joined up with South Northants Volunteers Bureau (SNVB) who are helping organise the recruitment for this years event. We have the need for a mixture of skills which we are sure can be put to good use.

SNVB have a dedicated volunteers page on their website with further details.

If you are interested in helping with this great event SNVB are holding two informal volunteers recruitment sessions on April 25th at 1-3pm and 7-9pm taking place at the offices of SNVB in Whittons Lane Towcester NN12 6YZ

We would really appreciate your help to make this event even better!

A new focus on activities for kids at Picnic in the Park 2018

Picnic in the Park 2017 was a milestone event, this was for various reasons;

1) This was the first year running the event under the newly formed Pattishall Park Events community group

2) We had sun all day without 1 drop of rain!

3) We had the single most profitable result in the history of the event


4) Sasha France attended for the first time. (more…)