As some of our regular readers will know, we love all things vintage, and we’re trying to make the most of local events and happenings in our home town and surrounding area. So when we heard that Morecambe’s Vintage by the Sea festival would be coming back again this year, I couldn’t wait to get my victory rolls in and step out in vintage style.
After several attempts at DIY victory rolls I settled for a rockability beehive instead. Bright red lips, giant specs and with a pretty bow in my hair, we set off for the sea front.
The sun was shining but the sea breeze already had a September chill, so I was pleased when we arrived at the stunning Midland hotel – a prominent Art Deco inspired building.
A lot of the festivals events were based around the hotel, including a wonderful showcase of classic cars out front.
From cars that resembled Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to old American army vehicles, cute Morris Minors to classics that wouldn’t look out of place in Grease, every bonnet was beautifully buffed and a thrilling site to see against the hotel backdrop.
One of the best things about Vintage by the Sea was how many people had really gotten into the spirit by donning their retro gladrags. My poor attempt at a beehive and Hepburn makeup was a shrinking violet against some of the elaborately fun styles of both men and women on the seafront this weekend!
Having enjoyed the cars and a couple of antique trinket stalls out front, we ventured back in time, and into the sweet, musty tent harbouring racks and racks of unique vintage wares.
I indulged my alter ego for a moment, trying lavish fur coats (that I would on principle never actually wear in a million years!) All that seemed to be left out was a long cigarette holder and I may very well have looked the part of a 50’s Hollywood star. Well- perhaps a little more work would be needed, but one can dream…
The general mood was jovial. Andrew and I wandered through the crowds of people laughing and joking, feeling silly in their vintage outfits. All at once I was taken back to a time when British seaside towns would have been a hub of such activity. Laughter, Punch and Judy shows, fair ground music. In a way it’s sad that this kind of atmosphere was so out of character for the area.
Once upon a time the beach would have seen swarms of families setting up their pitches for a day, or even a week, at the beach. And although some families do now brave the Great British weather to do just that, it just doesn’t seem to be the same hub of excitement I imagine it once was.
I’d love it if the town really committed to bring back the vintage vibes, and setup an outdoor pool (heated) or something similarly retro to bring some all year round life back onto the promenade.
These were the musings I had as we made our way around the funfair.
Despite the high spirited atmosphere, I couldn’t shake off an uninvited mood that came over me. This should have been the perfect setting to be hand in hand having fun with my husband, but for whatever reason I didn’t feel as romantic as usual.
I think it could have had something to do with the juxtaposition of the event. Something didn’t quite sit right, and it’s not until now as I write and recollect the morning that I begin to wonder what that might have been.
Sure, re-imagining the past is always fun, and dressing up, being somebody else for just one day, can even be liberating. But there are some memories that seem strange to be surrounded in such fun and joviality.
As I flick through the pictures that we took on the day, this one catches my eye. I am drawn to this woman’s thoughts – what memories does a festival such as this evoke for her? The uniformed men re-enacting their accounts of wartime Britain, with the lights, whirs and screams of the funfair behind. Is a vintage festival the same for a woman who has already lived it in her youth? Just a thought…
Feeling poignant and reflective, we left the fun of the fair behind us and enjoyed a peaceful walk back along the promenade.
Looking forward to our next vintage event and this time getting Andrew to join in the spirit and don a suitably vintage velvet jacket and trilby. Wouldn’t he look dapper?!