Saturday, 9 June 2012

Melbourne Celebrates The Queen's Diamond Jubilee

On an overcast morning in June, residents of Melbourne fell in love with the red, white and blue of the Union Jack as volunteers decorated the town in preparation for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. This is going to be a Great British summer to remember...

There were many events planned for the long weekend, including special church services, street parties and a special party for all in the town's Castle Square. As a once in a lifetime event we couldn't wait to get out and capture the people of Melbourne as they partied and enjoyed the long weekend. We were also on the look out for some of the detail around town that made you proud to be British... and of course, proud to be from Melbourne!

While the town was being decorated with flags and bunting, the local retailers were also joining in with the festivities and transforming Melbourne into a hotbed of British pride! A swathe of red, white and blue swept across the town as every shop window was dressed, each one trying to out do the next. With so many festive products on offer it was hard to know where to start...

There was a good deal of Jubilee merchandise on offer in the windows of the Newsagents and Post Office. Flags were also in high demand around the town as residents of Melbourne proudly hung Union Jacks from their windows and decorated their houses with bunting.

I'm not sure if it was a plant or not, but it was a great surprise to come across a classic mini, complete with Union Jack roof parked at the top of Church Street.

If it was cakes and sweets that you needed then Melbourne was the place to be! I challenge anyone to walk through the town without noticing any of the homemade cakes and scones on offer at the Welcome Cafe or wanting to stop by Jack's of Melbourne to pick up a homemade cupcake or a slice... or two!

 Melbourne Sweets & Treats and Birds also had plenty of celebratory treats in store for those with a sweet tooth.

Just in case you hadn't decorated your home enough with flags and bunting, Cream Interiors were enticing people inside with the latest styles of interior fabrics and furnishing. Wonderful and unique products and finishes, all of course sporting the design of the moment that is on everyone's lips!

There was also an opportunity to browse the many wonderful gifts on offer at Lilly & Lime, while the finishing touches were made to the window display. Only in 2012 could you see a cuddly terrier sporting the pattern of the Union Jack... Love it!

Wandering around the town it was clear to see that everyone was in love with everything British. There was a great radio in the window of Blatch's, festive ribbon adorning the display at Home Boutique and handy props for some stylish specs in the window of Lomas Opticians.

In keeping with the vintage theme that is sweeping the nation, the window at Melbourne Carpets was filled with a beautiful array of nostalgia and memorabilia, chronicling the Queen's 60 year reign. There was everything from festive cake stands and decorations to newspaper cuttings and commemorative Jubilee cups. Well worth a peek!

The many hairdressers of Melbourne were also joining in; with flags flying in windows and products proudly displaying the Union Jack. The window of Flaxen Hair was also draped in red and finished off with a fantastic vintage paper chain emblazoned with the Queen’s image.

There was also more to be seen just off from the High Street. The window at Mimi Interiors was full of vintage style Jubilee gifts as well as products hinting at the 2012 London Olympics which is now just around the corner. Like I said, this is going to be a great British summer to remember...

Doves Garage also had many Jubilee decorations for sale, while the thatched cottages at the end of Potter Street made good use of what was on offer around Melbourne. At the other end of town, Ward's hardware store seemed to come into it's own amongst all of the vintage decoration, looking like it had never changed in the past 60 years!

The town was now set, the Jubilee weekend had arrived and then it was time to party! Melbourne residents of all ages were invited to attend a Street Party put on by the Parish Council to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee in style.

There was a dress code for the day and residents of Melbourne began making their way through the town dressed in red, white and blue...

...before taking their seats in Castle Square complete with picnics and flags to wave.

Let it be said that the people of Melbourne know how to party and enjoy themselves! Community spirit was in abundance around the town and the turn out for the day was fantastic. Everyone dressed for the occassion and there was fancy dress and crowns galore! It was a real pleasure to see the effort that had been made, as families arrived carrying tables and chairs and picnic hampers crammed with all kinds of wonderful party food.

Of course, no British summer party would be complete without piles of tasty sandwiches, a tall glass of Pimm's or some fancy table decorations and this party was going to be no exception. Back on the High Street, they may not have been able to supply the food and drink but Isobel the Florist had the perfect garden party posies for the occassion
 - all in jubilant colours! 

Another of Melbourne's florists Blossom Tree; had a beautiful window display complete with festive bunting and the words to the childrens nursery ryhme, 'Lavender's Blue' across the glass. Floral bunches in red, white and blue were also on offer, all of which were finished off with a great little festive ribbon sporting the words 'Best of British'.

Back in the Square, flag waving was a must while the Melbourne Town Band played all of the usual favourites. A scene reminiscent of a last night at the Proms; Castle Square may not have had the grandeur of the Royal Albert Hall, but the crowd certainly weren't lacking in joy and enthusiasm!

Parents were given a break and a chance to enjoy a sneaky drink or two while the children were entertained with face painting, dancing and party games. 

Perhaps it was the many tasty sweet treats that were on offer around Melbourne that kept their energy levels so high...

The games and dancing were put on hold while the kids were invited to tell a joke to the onlooking adults. An orderly line was formed and the older children were reminded to keep the jokes clean! 

The street party was a great event for familes and children of all ages to get into the Jubilee spirit. 

And while the children played, the adult entertainment continued...

Food was of course playing a big part in the celebrations. There were some great ribs to be had from Melbourne's Butcher prior to the event, but going by the size of the queue, it was their Hog Roast that proved to be a great success on the day. With all of the good food that had been brought down by the party goers, it was a wonder that anyone could squeeze any more in... but then, who can resist the smell of roast pork and crackling? 


If that wasn't enough, Melbourne Chip Shop was also open offering some good old fashioned, British Fish & Chips!

Of course, it wouldn't have been a typical British summers day without the threat of rain, but the wise and well informed had come prepared. When the heavens finally opened late in the afternoon nobody was going to be put off and let the weather dampen their spirits. Macs came out, umbrellas went up and the party continued in true British style.

The day was set to continue well into the evening and thankfully the rain didn't persist. Live music and fireworks entertained the crowds, while some of the younger residents managed to catch a few moments of sleep between all the excitement and fun of the day.

  The party turned out to be a fantastic event, largely thanks to Melbourne Parish Council and the many volunteers who helped the Jubilee celebrations go off with a bang. It is definately a great start to a wonderful British summer... no matter what the weather holds!

Lastly a big thank you to all of the retailers for their kind co operation in allowing their windows and products to be photographed. Also to the many residents who stopped for a quick chat and to give their own thoughts of the Jubilee celebrations and what it meant to them... Thank You! 


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