The threat of rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the townspeople of Sutton-on-Sea this Saturday, as the first stall owners began setting up from eight o’clock in preparation for the opening of the exciting new event: a ‘40s themed weekend. Vintage on Sea acted not so much as a historical throwback to the war-riddled era, but more so a celebration of where we, as a nation, have been, and the sense of optimism and togetherness was almost tangible in the air.
Although the majority of the market was already raring to go before ten o’clock, events did not formally begin until then. Stalls were erected in what is usually the council car-park, with the majority of produce being era-themed items handcrafted by the respective stall owners. A small funfair of vintage rides could also be found in this area, alongside a Prosecco van; fun for both children and parents alike.
Further along the high-street at the Bacchus Hotel, swing dancers could be seen outside of the main entrance with music playing for all to enjoy. Opposite was a display of vintage cars from the 1940s with experts around to answer questions. Down by Steve Woods Motors more vehicles could be found, as well as music, dance, and other forms of entertainment ranging from jazz singers to tap dancers.
It was not just event-specific festivities in Sutton-on-Sea however; many of the local traders were also excited by the new fixture. Many dressed for the occasion, such as the staff of Waldo’s Fish and Chips, and the gentleman of Sutton’s Pet Supplies also had their own stall to offer.
Despite the scheduled events finishing at five o’clock, the Bacchus Hotel offered entertainment in the evening for a small fee, allowing those who were interested to stay and enjoy more music, dancing, and general fun for the family.
This was a day blessed with good weather and activities for all the family. Alcohol friendly areas open until late at night, as well as puppet shows and games for children; there were no bases left uncovered by the organisers, and the joy felt by those visiting and those participating was clear to see. The sense of community felt on the first day of this event was reminiscent of the era it was celebrating, and at the end of the day spirits were left high as people looked forward to the exciting day which followed.
On the second and final day of the new Vintage on Sea festival, Sutton-on-Sea’s energy was incredible to experience. The streets were bustling with visitors and eager workers as the sun shone along the coast.
Similar to the first day, there was the promise of classic vehicles, a vintage market, and a multitude of dance and music acts stretching from the Bacchus Hotel down to Steve Wood Motors. These included tap and swing dancers alongside local choirs and ukulele groups, just to name a choice few, and the delighted cheers and jeers from the crowd proved what a success these era-themed acts were.
Due to the improvement of the weather, there were more rides for children on the vintage fun fair, as well as a magician who performed at Samantha’s Coffee Shop and then roamed with his show, entertaining onlookers on the streets as well. It may seem like an unusual addition to such an event, but the mix of different acts is what truly gives Vintage on Sea its rustic and authentic charm.
Although the event may be more relatable for the older generation, the ensemble of performances was appealing for all ages, whether it be young children just learning about the era or more senior members of the community who felt nostalgia over such a weekend. Still, the response to Vintage on Sea has been overwhelmingly positive from both participating locals and visitors to the area, and there is a hope from all that this new festival will become an anticipated and cherished tradition for this quaint seaside town.