Express & Star

Bostin' Black Country Day celebrations exceed organisers' expectations

Thousands of people flocked to the return of major bostin’ Black Country Day celebrations since the pandemic lockdown.

Britain's Got Talent star Eva Abley entertained crowds at Black Country Day

The overjoyed organisers said public support for the festivities held, in Somers Square, Halesowen, this year exceeded all expectations after sunny weather drew huge crowds to the event yesterdayon Thursday(14).

Guests included Britain’s Got Talent star comedian Eva Abley who entertained on stage and flag designer Gracie Sheppard, while ITV Central weatherman Des Coleman gave his report from the festival. There was live music from Empty Can the band behind the Black Country Anthem.

Ecstatic event founder Steve Edwards said: “It’s turned out quite a lot better than we thought it would. It’s been rammed with people in Halesowen.

Des Coleman with Vicky Rogers from Halesweon BID and Black Country Day founder Steve Edwards

“We work closely with the town’s business team on this year’s event. When they got re-relected we knew that we could get everything ready quickly to enable the town to host this year’s celebration.

“We have covered the other towns such as Dudley, Brierley Hill, Stourbridge and others with the festival. It’s Halesowen’s turn to host it wit the aim to populate the town with shoppers and visitors to generate some business.

Cirque La Mour's Mollie Burke, 24, of Brierley Hill.

“It has gone really well. We’ve had lots of competitions such as faggot eating, beer drinking and the Teddy Gray Suck a sweets’ tasting competition relating to the sweets company of the same name.

“Due to Covid it’s been a couple of years since we’ve had a large Black Country Day effort and the last time was in 2019.

“There was obviously nothing in 2020 due to the lockdown crisis and while we did hold an event last year it was very low key.

Rose Cook Monk

“This is the first time the people have been able to have a get big get together and it’s been great to see them come out. There’s been mix of families, retired people and visitors coming in. We set up a 9am and there’s been a stream of people from then all through the day. I’d say there’s been up to 2,000 people.

“There’s Black Country flags flying everywhere and matching bunting.

Illustrator Ben Poultney with new artwork Draw my Town
Dave Dancer gets a Peaky Blinder theme hair cut from Maxine Humphries, of Options Barbers.

“It’s been absolutely fantastic and the event will be back next year in a different town,” he added.

Attractions at the amazing day also included a Sunbeam car, the Black Country radio roadshow, a cake to celebrate 10 years of the red, white and black flag designed by Miss Sheppard, of Stourbridge, and new work by artist Ben Poultney was unveiled.

Mike Dancer with his 1924 Sunbeam 1440

At Dudley Zoo & Castle the flag was raised at the hill top tower. While Peter Towler owner of Tipton’s Mad O’Rourkes Pie Factory said: “Happy Black Country Day from everyone here.

“We are very proud to be a part of such a wonderful and vibrant community and we hope everyone is enjoying their own Black Country Day celebrations today. Our bostin’ pies have been loved by local folk for more than 30 years - and now they’re enjoyed all over the country thanks to our popular Pies by Post service.”

Dave Dancer gets a Peaky Blinder theme hair cut from Maxine Humphries, of Options Barbers.

Wolverhampton South West MP Stuart Anderson said: “The Black Country was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

“I am fully committed to doing whatever I can to ensure that it can reach its full potential in the years ahead.”