Saturday, 18 June 2016

Geronimo Festival 2016


Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival

I finally got the Geronimo Festival post sorted! It's always slow going when I took too many pictures and ended up having to spend hours going through them to choose the ones to upload, and then another few hours to edit them.

It's quite late to publish this (almost 3 weeks later!), but please do read it because I want to show you why we are highly recommending Geronimo Festival to you, and why our kids said that they can't wait until next year to go back again (Clay was actually upset that he couldn't go again this year)!


Arriving:

Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival

Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival

First of all, we were really lucky and had an amazing weather on the day (Sunday 29th May) at Tatton Park. We were actually prepared for the worst weather possible (wellies and raincoats, but layers of clothes and sun lotion too), even though the weather forecast said that it will be dry. You just won't know with our British weather! The clear sky, bright sun and hot weather were a big bonus, and I ended up wishing that I had packed the kids' sun hats!

We also arrived, for the first time EVER, earlier than the opening hour (8am to enter the car park, 10am for the festival to start)! We were prepared for long queues to park and enter, so decided to arrive before 8am. There were only a few cars that has arrived before us, which was a sight we've never seen before!

We were going to sit in the car for 2 hours, but realised that there was a queue building up at the ticket entrance. It seemed like we weren't the only one prepared for long queues, and people chose to start queuing up at 8:30am! You can understand why, when you arrive before 10am, the queue is already extremely long!

I must give it to the people at Geronimo Festival. They were definitely prepared, and had an entertainer making balloons for children in the queue already. And because the queue was getting very long, they decided to let people in to the festival ground at 9am, even though a lot of stalls weren't ready with setting up. There were still plenty for people to do though. Rides were ready to operate, and stalls that are ready also started serving/ entertaining visitors.

There are also tables and colourful markers ready at the entrance, so family can tag the children with contact details.

I'd recommend parents, for the next Geronimo Festival and any other large events, to also add a meeting point to drop the kids off because the mobile signal at Tatton Park was quite poor (it was a good thing to keep parents' attention on the kids and the family day out though!).

With security seen in every turn in the festival however, I felt that the kids were quite safe.

Another thing worth pointing out is that they were giving out free sunscreens at the information tent near the entrance. It was meant for people to apply sunscreens at the tent, but we started seeing them giving bottles of it out, so that people who forgot to bring their own can apply frequently during the day without needing to run back to the tent every 30 minutes. I think that it was very considerate of Geronimo, they definitely know what families need.


Morning - Geronimo Stage:

Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival

Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival

Since Clay wouldn't leave the Geronostage zone ever since he heard Andy Day (from one of his favourite CBeebies program Andy and the Dinosaur series) testing the mic, we decided to use the morning to watch the performances while it's still cool enough to hang around. This is when the picnic mat came in handy.

It's good that we arrived early too because the zone was soon filled with people!

We can tell that Geronimo and Tatton Park has thought about the location of each zones through, because the sun came up from behind us, so visitor can see the stage clearly without being blinded by the sun (it must be quite difficult for the performers though!).


Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival

Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival

Alex Winter from CBeebies is a fantastic host as ever and have kept the crowd going in between performances, even during the time when the sound system broke down. Everyone (both performers and visitors) were patient, handled the situation well and tried their best to keep the show and fun going.

The morning performances were brilliant with lots of interactions, and our kids enjoyed Cook and Line's slapstick jokes the most!

The sun was getting really hot around 11ish, so we thought it was a good time to grab a bite from the food stalls (right next to the stage!) before we check the rest of the festival out. We did get some snacks at other times too, so I thought I'll list all the food we enjoyed under the following section.


Food:

Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival
Dutch mini pancakes - Poffertjes
Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival
Refillable Slush!  Featuring a bag of freshly made mini donuts
Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival
Sno Cones
Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival
Sitting area
Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival
Left: Lunch time queue        Right: Ice-cream van queue
Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival
DIY Candy Floss!  It was bigger than the kids' faces put together!
The first thing we bought was Poffertjes (Dutch mini pancakes) and Sno-Cone. The Poffertjes owner was from Holland, so they make pretty authentic Dutch mini pancakes. The traditional icing sugar wasn't on their menu, maybe because they considered what locals would have preferred. I did see a tray of icing sugar in their stall though, so I asked for icing sugar only. It's funny when they were surprised by my request as they weren't expecting it at all.

If you are going to have Poffertjes, whether at a festival or Christmas (eek!) market, give the authentic way a try, which is eating them with butter and a really good dusting of icing sugar.

The Sno-Cones were a must in the heat, and thumbs up to the guys with a great sense of humour!


Although expected, the lunch time queue were amusingly long for most food vendors (I was amused because I was expecting it. I can understand that not everyone were pleased though). Next time we'll either bring our own picnic (we just couldn't be bothered to carry it around) or eat at a different time. It didn't dampen our mood though, maybe because it was too hot to be bothered about food, so we grabbed a burger and chips to share between us from the one that serves fastest. Food weren't the best but we were quite satisfied and the kids weren't too fussed with proper food anyway.

The 2 stalls that I have to mention is the Slush Factory and the Faeryfloss Boutique! The Slush Factory have the most Slush flavours available at one time I've ever seen! I was like a child at the candy store! And for £3 you get a refillable bottle with a bendy straw (I took the wrong straw but the man at the stand was understanding and let me get the proper one). We made the first fill in the colours of the rainbow of course! The kids had lots of fun discovering new flavours and combining them in our bottle.

Faeryfloss Boutique's candy floss is the best ever, not because their recipe is better than others (although we tasted a hint of ginger-like spice which makes it different), but because they let the kids roll their own candy floss! Clay was gutted he didn't get a go (one is big enough for all of us to share!)! It was a fun experience, so hopefully we can meet them again next time!


On our way to the other zones, we spotted:

Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival

Tatton Park's Roald Dahl's Tremendous Adventures banner (you can check out our visit here)

Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival

Lots of entertainers around to keep people's mood up! We also had someone spraying water at us!

Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival

The rest of the crowd that we didn't see at the Geronostage and Food Stalls! It was a sold out day after all.


Rides:

Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival

Free rides is exactly what the kids love! We wanted to go on the Merry Go Round but the queue has never shortened since we were allowed to enter the festival ground at 9am. It's probably the most popular fair ride at Geronimo Festival!

To keep grumpy Clay happy, Abby took the mini Merry Go Round ride with him (hence the helpless look because it was too slow for her haha). Knowing that her fun will come later (we were walking towards the Adrenaline zone) she was content to please her little brother though (I love her so much!).


Workshops:

Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival
Left: The kids were trying to push the demonstrator off balance!
Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival

We detoured back to where the Science and Funky Junk tents were, to learn about balance and get crafty. We loved the Enchanted Forest Craft Tent, where small workshops were held, teaching children art and crafty skills (also free with projects to take home). The music was relaxing, although it made us adults a bit tired!


Adrenaline Zone:

Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival

Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival

Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival

It wasn't hard to encourage Clay to walk with us to the Adrenaline zone because it's located next to the giant bouncy castles! Abby's aim was the Skyline zip wire, and she took on the Hang on to the Bar Challenge while waiting for her turn at the Skyline (hubby dutifully stayed in the queue!).

Everyone in the Skyline queue was paying full attention to those (mainly dads. Haha) who took the challenge, and cheered for those who got close to the 2 minutes mark. The stall owner said that 6 had passed (you can win £20 cash if you pass!) by the time we got there, so it was possible. But Abby said it was very tricky because the bar started turning!

She then went on the Skyline, and when we thought that she will burst into tears (there is a sudden rough jerk when they slid to the bottom and bounced back), she went for a second go! A couple of younger children (about 4 to 5 years old) did get a shock and ended up in tears though, because they were too young to know how to hold onto the rope properly. Everyone who saw the incidents (they were safe and no medical attention was needed at that time) agreed that young children really shouldn't be allowed on the Skyline. I think the company who own it should have set an age limit and make it suitable only for 6 to 7 years and above, even though some might think it's obvious.

We then went for the assault course. We had to go in as a team, but most parents like us cheated and skipped all the obstacles!


Woodland Zone:

Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival

I think Geronimo Festival is too big for us to explore the whole place in one day! I walked towards the Woodland zone while waiting for Abby to go on the Skyline, and noticed people making paper lanterns. I would have loved to make it too! The shades were very welcoming as well in the afternoon sun.


Arena Zone:

Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival

On our way back to the car park at 5:15pm (after having a good go at the bouncy castle. We stayed there for over 9 hours!), we saw the ducks and goose cleverly being guided back into the pen. They were rewarded with a lot of awwwwss!

 
Geronimo Festival 2016, British family festival, Summer Festival

There were a lot of stalls near the entrance that we didn't manage to visit. One that has caught our eyes throughout the day though, was the one selling bubbles. What's so special about this stall is that they were blowing smoke bubbles in between the normal soap bubbles! They turn into a puff of smoke when they pop, which was really fascinating! I would have loved to buy the machine, but it was a proper machine. Hopefully one day a smaller handheld will be available!


Overall, we had an amazing time at Geronimo Festival. There were a lot to do and see, so much that I honestly doubt you can do everything in the same day.  Not one place isn't filled with people, so there really is something for everyone.

I also think that the people at Geronimo Festival and Tatton Park were very well prepared, from letting cars in earlier and opening the festival ground earlier, to having a lot of volunteer helpers, medics and security around, preparing sun lotions for those who forgot to bring theirs, water station to refill your bottles and having loads of toilets in different areas.

The only thing I'd suggest is to add even more food vendors, especially those who can serve food instantly, and maybe put a notice up in zones designed for older children to remind families that it really isn't suitable for younger children. I guess people can get carried away with all the fun and forget that not everything in the festival is suitable for toddlers. The festival accommodate children up to 12 years old after all.


It's the first time we stayed at an event for the whole day, and the kids actually wanted to go back sooner than going there once a year. I understand that no one likes rubbish weather and long queues, but it is something we have to expect at big events like this, and hope for the best. If you can keep those in mind, Geronimo Festival really is a perfect family festival that adults and kids will enjoy. We hope that we can go back again next year!


Next up is the Digital Kids Show in Manchester Event City, in October 2016. It will be another amazing family event to look forward to!