A great new app, street art and an extra week – new for 2013

(This page was originally published in summer of 2013, to mark the new illuminations for 2013).

Blackpool Illuminations came to life in 2013, with a great new interactive app!

One hundred QR code boards formed a trail along the length of the prom, hover your phone or tablet over them, to see the Lights come to life in 3D!

Blackpool Illuminations App - new illuminations for 2013
Blackpool Illuminations App – new to the illuminations for 2013

Some of the holographic 3D images are free to view to give you a taster. At an unbeatable £1.99 for the full range, children and big kids will want to walk the prom and have a go with this new toy!

Each board gives you a three dimensional, moving character with a voice on your phone or tablet. The soundtrack is provided by the Glitterball Gang – seven children from Blackpool schools (below), who told us they’d really enjoyed being part of the project and learnt a lot from doing it.

The Blackpool Experience App was been developed with the help of StayBlackpool who have worked with the Friends of the Illuminations to bring it to life.

The Glitterballs, Blackpool school children and voices of the Illuminations app - new illuminations for 2013
The Glitterballs, Blackpool school children and voices of the Illuminations app – new to the illuminations for 2013

Sooty Celebrates 65 Years

Would you believe that Sooty was 65 years old this year. To celebrate he was immortalised in lights!

The famous yellow bear began his life in Blackpool when Harry Corbett bought him in a joke shop here on North Pier. His wife wanted to make him different to the rest of the joke shop puppets and blacked his ears with soot from the fire, and the rest is history.

Richard Cadell owns the rights to Sooty, and the original glove puppet which is back in its rightful place on North Pier, opened proceedings at the launch event on Wednesday 24th July. It was held at Lightworks, the vast and fascinating Illuminations Depot at South Shore.

After performing the magic spell ‘Izzy, wizzy, let’s get busy’ Sooty appeared to do a quick performance which included drowning Councillor Graham Cain with a water pistol!

After entertaining generations of children, Sooty is back on the TV with a new show in September, so his brand new Illumination tableau is sure to be a big hit.

Councillor Cain with Sooty, new illuminations for 2013
Councillor Cain with Sooty, new to the illuminations for 2013
Laurence Llewelyn Bowen with Sooty and Sweep, new illuminations for 2013
Laurence Llewelyn Bowen with Sooty and Sweep, new to the illuminations for 2013

World’s largest collection of open air street art – new illuminations for 2013

Laurence Llewelyn Bowen described the new graffiti-art installations as ‘the largest open air gallery of open air street art in the world’. He’s probably right, as a series of new, framed drawings are unveiled, including 48 panels by 12 artists.

They’re the urban artists who participate in the Sand, Sea and Spray event each summer which sees some of Blackpools town centre walls transformed into giant size modern masterpieces.

They are Inkie, Osch, Catch22, Foundary, Lowdown, Oliver Winconek, Danny O’Connor, Agent Provoceteur, Infected by Design, TeaOne, Neil Ennui and The Legendary Toasters.

Street art gallery, new illuminations for 2013
Street art gallery, new illuminations for 2013

Original drawings from the Clash album cover artist – new illuminations for 2013

Local artist Robin Ross was given the Ray Lowry sketch books after he died in 2008, with the intention of making prints from the never-been-seen illustrations.

Ray Lowry did the cover for The Clash Album London Calling. There’ll be six illuminated light boxes with music playing. Which Clash song would you chose as your favourite?

Robin Ross with the Ray Lowry sketchbook, new illuminations for 2013
Robin Ross with the Ray Lowry sketchbook, new illuminations for 2013

All the old favourites

Postman Pat was waiting at Lightworks to greet the guests. Like all of the Lights he’d also had a clean and spruce up for the start of the 2013 season.

In opening the event, Councillor Cain thanked all the sponsors and explained that the new features for 2013 included new and modern features, to join heritage and tradition in an evolving display that looks through the ages.

Blackpool Illuminations brings three times more people to Blackpool than anything else. So it’s important that the businesses of the Fylde Coast support them and the Friends Group. They’re doing a wonderful job of raising awareness and funds.

Postman Pat, back again to welcome the 2013 Illuminations

An Extra Week of Illuminations for 2013

Blackpool Illuminations have always traditionally ended on the last Sunday of the Autumn half term holiday at the end of October. For the first time in 2013 they shone for an extra week, thanks to the generosity of Merlin, who operate the Tower, Madame Tussauds and Sea Life.

Iain Hawkins, the Blackpool Cluster Manager tells us “Across our attractions there’s historically been a sharp drop off of visitor numbers at the end of the Illuminations. We’ve come to this agreement with Blackpool Council to extend the season and give people more entertainment at a time of year when many other seaside towns are quite simply closed for business. There’s so much to do in Blackpool that doesn’t rely on the weather, so people can enjoy themselves for a little while longer into winter.”


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