Hundreds of revellers enjoyed a superb 1950s themed ball as Blackpool’s annual Showzam! extravaganza kicked off in style.
The popular arts and entertainment festival, now in its seventh year, launched with a bang at the Tower Ballroom on Saturday night, as the crowds were kept enthralled by an evening of risqué and thrilling entertainment.
Acrobats, sultry dancers, roller skaters, circus acts and a male ballet dancer – or four as it turned out, with some help from the audience – kept the crowd captivated.
Organisers estimated close to half of the hundreds of ticket holders had travelled to the event from outside the resort. They included Rob and Rachael Jones from Birmingham.
The pair had travelled to Blackpool just for the event, as Rob, 50, explained: “We have been the past few years and wanted to do it again.
“It’s a really good show they put on here – it is very much the variety, whether it be masquerade or burlesque-themed.
“And what better way to experience it all than under The Tower in the magnificent ballroom.”
Keith Jeffries, 54, of Lytham Road, South Shore, added: “I’ve really enjoyed every year I’ve been to the Carnival Ball.
“It’s always a good night and signals the start of Showzam!, which I know has grown and grown in recent years.”
In the crowd, many dressed for the occasion, with leather jackets, swing dresses and petticoats on show.
The evening had a real feel-good factor, with many taking to the spring-based dance floor to showcase their best Jive or Cha Cha.
Close to £150,000 has been spent on this year’s Showzam! festival, which includes a £99,000 grant from the Arts Council and features a series of events, from Sooty to The Underwater Bubble Show, to a Romany Diva of Magic.
Yesterday, male dancing duo Soren and Bradley Stauffer-Kruse – also known as the Sugar Dandies – invited dancers to take part in some Ballroom and Latin at the Spanish Hall in the Winter Gardens as they served up an afternoon of entertainment.
Chris Pope, operations manager for Visit Blackpool, said: “This has been in the planning for the past 18 months.
“It’s amazing to think Showzam! has been going for seven years, but that is how long it takes to build up a festival.
“The Carnival Ball always has a theme – in the past it has been burlesque or masquerade and this year it was 1950s.
“This week promises to be full of variety and entertainment, continuing right up until next Sunday.”
For a full list of events head to the official website www.showzam.co.uk or call (01253) 478222.