It was a beautiful day at the Festival Promenade
Bath was brought to a standstill on Saturday (15th September) as hundreds of costumed Jane Austen fans took part in the Grand Regency Promenade. The Promenade, which traditionally opens the Jane Austen Festival and holds the record for the largest costumed gathering, attracts people from all over the world to the city and this year was no different. The day began with a military display at the Royal Crescent, which included several volleys of shots being discharged in front of this historic landmark. At 11am, the biggest ever number of promenaders then set off from Queen Square to make their way through the celebrated streets of Bath.
The route took in Milsom Street, which was closed to traffic for the event and also allowed a dance display to take place in this most famous of streets for the huge crowd of onlookers that had turned out to watch. Those fans that couldn’t make it to the event, however, were treated to live updates on our popular facebook page, which sent a series of images around the globe of the promenade as it was actually taking place.
Among those that were taking part though was dedicated Janeite Hillary Marsh, who travelled from New York with her husband John and two children Sapphire, nine, and Felix, seven. She first found out about the festival when the family was on holiday in Bath in 2009 and have planned their holidays to the UK around it ever since. Mrs Marsh said: “I love Bath, it is my favourite place to visit, which is why we keep coming back. And now that we take part in the Austen parade I love the city even more. My husband and children love it too, and we all really enjoy getting dressed up and walking through Bath.”
“Jane Austen was a great author, and I think it is wonderful that the city holds a festival like this every year.”
The promenade ended at Parade Gardens, where another military display took place, along with more regency dancing. For those devoted fans still requiring more pleasurable pursuits, however, they could then enjoy a traditional Country Fayre in the nearby Guildhall, with stalls including haberdashers and milliners as well as those selling tea and cakes. The festival ends next Saturday, on September 22nd, and for full details of the remaining events go here.