Thousands flock to Downs for Diamond Jubilee party
THOUSANDS of people headed to the Downs for a day of music and merriment in celebration of the Queen's diamond jubilee.
People brought picnics and the rain stayed away to as yesterday's Diamond Jubilee Downs Day worked up to the lighting of a jubilee beacon to the strains of the national anthem.
The beacon was one of at least 30 in the city and surrounding area, from Flat Holm in the Bristol Channel to Chipping Sodbury, which were lit at 10pm to make up a chain of more than 4,000 lighting up the corners of the UK and the Commonwealth.
Here's a video of the beacon on the Downs being lit:
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People watching the beacon being lit on the Downs took part in a Mexican wave:
Before darkness fell there were performances, demonstrations, attractions and activities to occupy more than 3,000 people who made their way to the southern end of Clifton Down, overlooking the Avon Gorge.
Even the skies were full of activity, with the Great Western Air Ambulance helicopter coming in to land in the afternoon while hot air balloons lifted off from the ground.
Watch a video of the GWAS helciopter coming into land here:
Musical acts included Cotham School's steel band Pan Sonic, the Out There Choir, Pill Sharks Morris Dancers, Bristol University Jazz Orchestra, all female jazz band Sisters of Swing, the Westerly Showband and the Ambling Band.
Watch a video of steel drum band Pan Sonic performing here:
And here is a clip of the Pill Shark morris dancers having a practice before they went on stage:
The Air Training Corps and Army Cadet Force set up a giant inflatable assault course and paintball range and other activities included crazy golf, a treasure hunt and a coconut shy.
Visitors were also able to go on guided tours of the Downs and Avon Gorge, learning to spot different types butterflies living in the area by Friends of the Downs and Avon Gorge volunteer Martin Collins.
Volunteers Francis Greenacre and Angela Nutbrown led walks of the Downs explaining the area's history since the Middle Ages.
The day was kicked off by Lord Mayor Councillor Peter Main at 3pm.
He said: "It's a wonderful day and it has been a wonderful couple of days – I have gone to seven of the street parties.
"It's a great atmosphere up here."
Children came to the event in kings and queens-themed fancy dress, and held a lantern-lit procession in the evening.
They were also treated to storytelling by Bristol performer Martin Maudsley in the Art marquee.
Friends of the Downs and Avon Gorge committee member Roger Holman said: "This is what the Downs are for. They are for all the citizens of Bristol. We represent all the people who use the Downs.
"There are thousands of people here – it is surpassing all expectations."
Martyn Glinn, 51, who works in a bank and lives near Winterbourne, said: "The day has been good. My son is here with the air cadets – it's a nice summer day out. It is good that the weather has been a help for us.
"The diamond jubilee is a good occasion for us all."
Bristol University student Rosie Peters, 20, who lives in the city centre, said: "It is a nice atmosphere here. There are lots of people – it is a really nice day."
Retired Anita Warr, 62, said: "The Downs have never looked better. It's like a big street party in one area and I'm really enjoying it."
The event was organised by the Downs Committee and Bristol City Council, with help from the Rotary Clubs of Bristol, Friends of the Downs and Avon Gorge and the Avon Gorge Wildlife and Downs Project.
It was the second year running a Downs Day had been held, following a celebration last year to mark the Downs' 150th anniversary, and organisers hope it will be held every year from now on.
During the evening another crowd gathered in Millennium Square to watch the Diamond Jubilee Concert via the big screen.
By the start of the event around 150 people sat in groups to watch the live coverage from a stage outside Buckingham Palace.
Some had picnics and sat on rugs and deck chairs, others had made their own crowns and many children enjoyed splashing through the fountains as they watched.
Mike Fillis, 32, an accountant from Totterdown, was settled on a picnic rug with a group of friends. They had brought along Pimms and were making and decorating their own crowns.
"My friend told me about this and I thought it would be a nice thing to do with a group of friends," he said.
"We are enjoying the atmosphere and just making the most of the bank holiday."
His friend Alice Peacock, 24, an event planner from Clifton, said: "There is great community spirit and we are enjoying watching the coverage all together."
Debbie Sinclair, 38, and her partner Paul Totley, 41, brought their two daughters Charlotte, seven, and Hannah, six, to enjoy the jubilee celebrations at the Harbourside.
"We went for a meal out and saw what was going on here," said Debbie, who lives in Nailsea and works at the City of Bristol College.
"Charlotte and Hannah have had a great time running through the fountains and we're enjoying watching what's going on in London via the live screen."
Melinda Hornacsek, 29, who lives in Redland, told the Post: "The public celebrations here aren't as big as they seem in London but I think it's a nice way to celebrate a national event."
Her friend Junaid Iqbal, 26, from Redfield, said: "We've brought along some snacks and are enjoying the last of the evening sun."
Marie and Peter Miller, from Plymouth, were visiting Bristol for the weekend with their two young sons and decided the Harbourside would be a great place for a picnic.
"We've been at At-Bristol for the boys and when we saw everyone out here we thought it would be a nice thing to do tonight," said Mrs Miller.
After street parties held during the day, the focus for the evening turned to the dozens of beacons being lit across the area.
In Chipping Sodbury the beacon lighting was accompanied by the town's first public firework display for ten years and followed a live screening of the jubilee concert.
For more photos from across the Jubilee weekend, see our Jubilee photo gallery.
We want to hear from you and see any photos and videos you take at your street parties and other jubilee events - please send them to us by email. Please indicate if you're not happy for your photos to appear in The Post as well.
Pick up your souvenir edition of The Post on Wednesday, June 6.
Want to check out the weather forecast before you go out to celebrate? Check the weather forecast in Bristol for today.