WHEN was the last time you went to Blackpool Tower?
Probably ages if the woman who manages the place is right.
Kate Shane, who 18 months ago took over as Tower Manager (what a great title that is), has launched the 2013 programme with a plea for people from the Fylde to actually visit the place.
“We had a good year last year and the circus had significant growth - 14 per cent up in takings from the year before - but what I really want to do is get locals in because I don’t think they come,” said Kate.
“I think there are loads of people in this town who probably went to Jungle Jim’s (the play area in the Tower) for a party, absolutely loved it, but haven’t been back to the Tower for 20 years since. It is so frustrating because people who live here seem to go out of the town for their leisure time and yet we have some wonderful facilities here, of which the Tower is obviously one.
“I think we need to get locals loving their own town again.”
The Tower’s programme for 2013 includes with trips to the top of the Tower, a record number of circus shows and historic heritage tours.
The circus is set to be the biggest hit and there is a new production for this year - ‘Around The World With Mooky and Boo’, which starts on Good Friday and runs until November 10.
There will be 364 performances between Easter and November and the show is a celebration of world class circus talent with acrobats being flown in from around the globe to perform.
“You should see the final rehearsals at the moment,” said Kate. “It is chaotic - artists from Cuba, Kazakhstan, all over the place, all speaking in different languages. But the show should be brilliant this year and we are really looking forward to it.”
The usual Tower attractions are open to the public. The 315ft lift ride to the top is open every day of the week and at the top, and visitors can experience Blackpool’s first ever 4D cinema and take a trip down memory lane, exploring the history of the iconic seaside town.
Blackpool Tower heritage tours will begin at the start of the summer season, giving visitors an opportunity to learn about the Victorian legacy of the attraction. The tour takes in a variety of Tower attractions, including the Circus and its underground stables where animals used to be kept - an area of the Tower not usually open to the public.
The Blackpool Tower Dungeon is open daily - with 10 interactive, actor-led shows - while indoor play centre Jungle Jims will keep the kids entertained. “I think what people still don’t realise - especially locals - is that the building is free to enter,”added Kate. “That didn’t used to be the case. Before you had to pay to physically walk through the doors but now people can come and walk around and go up the sea view terrace on the fifth floor where there is a fantastic vista of the whole promenade.
“There is entertainment on every day, and that’s why I am so keen to get local people here, because they probably don’t realise how much is actually going on.”
Visitors can take advantage of the Big Ticket (£25), which provides entry to all of the Blackpool Tower’s attractions, as well as Madame Tussauds and the Sea Life centre. The Tower will be open daily from 10am to 5pm from March 29 onwards. For more information go to www.theblackpooltower.com.