It might be Blue Monday (the most depressing day of the year) but there’s reason to get the calendar out and start circling some dates in Preston.
Responding to criticism of not knowing when and where things are happening in the city, Preston City Council has released its events calendar for most of the year ahead.
2017 sees the Flag Market hosting more events, Moor Park being used more and also a brief return for a small-scale version of the Lancashire Encounter.
Events manager at the city council Tim Joel said there is plenty more planned but they wanted to get the dates out there.
He said: “This is the first time we’ve really been able to come out and say this is what’s on in Preston during the year.
“We are building a really compelling, interesting and diverse range of events for everyone. There’s some staples such as egg rolling but also some new and exciting events coming to the city – which we hope people will come out and support.”
Victorian Fair in Winckley Square
Following the £1.5m restoration of the Georgian square it is being taken back to the 1800s. The free event runs during Saturday 21 January and is due to be one of many events happening in the square during 2017.
Martin Creed exhibition, Harris
‘Everything Is Going To Be Alright’ is due to beam down on the Flag Market from the top of the Harris for six months.
Martin Creed brings his artwork to the museum, which will be both inside and out. It starts from Thursday 26 January.
Harris Live, Harris Museum and Art Gallery
A test for what may be ahead for the Harris, paid-for evening concerts in the main cafe area.
Mr Joel said: “We want to get more twilight events happening in the city and so if we can build a series of concerts at the Harris during weekdays it will really help.”
There’s jazz, folk, choirs, acoustic and more being performed during the nine concerts which cost £6 each to attend.
Read more: Here’s what’s on at the Harris Live
The Egg Rolling, dating back to Victorian times, returns but there’s due to be a wider range of events during Easter.
From Saturday 1 April for a fortnight there will be holiday activities with workshops running at key locations in the city centre and giving Prestonians the chance to decorate an egg.
The city council is then planning to harness a German tradition of decorating trees on the Flag Market with the eggs.
The egg rolling itself takes place at Avenham Park on Monday 17 April (Bank Holiday Monday), and the food stalls and surrounding activities are due to be expanded this year for family entertainment.
Whitsun Fair is due to return to the city centre although no date has been set – as the city council is negotiating on where it can go. Building work at the Markets and potentially the Old Post Office may mean it is a smaller affair than previous years.
In Moor Park, which will celebrate its 150 birthday this year, the Cancer Research Race for Life and Pretty Muddy challenges return during Saturday 17 June and Sunday 18 June.
Armed Forces Day is back on the Flag Market during Saturday 24 June and is due to have a 1940s theme, with the veterans parade in the morning.
Preston Caribbean Carnival is in a strong position to return for a full-scale carnival after last year’s event had to be cancelled due to financial issues. It will start in Moor Park on Sunday 25 June and make its way to the city centre and then back to the park for music and food.
The Flag Market hosts the first Lancashire Youth Music Festival on Saturday 1 July, with performers from the Blaze charity and other music groups for children across the city.
Rockprest, a popular tribute acts festival, returns to Moor Park on Saturday 1 July and Sunday 2 July. The event is free but you need to register for tickets.
Preston Mela is back on the Flag Market and Mr Joel says they are coming back bigger and better.
He said: “Last year’s Mini Mela had a great response and they’ve now received Arts Council funding to help expand the event.”
The event takes place on Tuesday 8 August.
More youth music also takes place during August with Blaze Lounge on the Flag Market on Saturday 26 August.
And throughout August there will be live theatre performed in Avenham Park.
Lancashire Encounter, the three-day arts festival in Preston, is a biennial so does’t return full-scale in 2017.
However the city council is doing a ‘Brief Encounter’ to raise awareness of the festival.
Mr Joel said: “We need to ensure people are aware of the Encounter so there will be something taking place on the Flag Market.
“There’s also a commission for an artist and this will see us going out across Lancashire to raise awareness of the festival and then bringing back whatever is created to the city.”
Read more: What was the Lancashire Encounter worth to Preston?
The city council has not confirmed events beyond September as it says it is still in negotiations with Preston’s Business Improvement District about the events leading up to and including Christmas.
What are you looking forward to? Any events we missed? Feel free to let us know in the comments below