Amble Puffin Festival has got off to a flying start, with plenty of fun for all the family.
The annual event celebrates the iconic birds and takes place at the best time of year to see the Coquet Island puffins as they care for their newly-hatched pufflings.
The week-long extravaganza started last Saturday and runs until this Saturday. Despite the cold weather, the festival has been proving popular with locals and visitors alike.
Amble Town councillor Helen Lewis said: “We had a good turn out at the weekend, with the craft fair being popular and everyone was really pleased with the variety of stalls.
“There has been a good mix of people coming to the festival, with good support from locals and from visitors to the town, including some foreign visitors.”
The action-packed schedule includes something for all ages and activities that have taken place so far include the arts and crafts fair, Amble’s Proud Football History Exhibition, the Radcliffe Club Family Fun Day, tribal belly dancing from Tribe Zuza and various guided walks, among other things.
On the festival’s opening day, renowned author Jenny Colgan gave a talk about Neil the Puffin, which is a character in several of her books.
Her visit came after the puffin-festival committee sent her a replacement soft-toy puffin, after her daughter lost her own cuddly companion.
But while the festival is well and truly under way, there is still plenty happening over the course of the remaining three days.
Highlights today include puffin-themed crafts, children’s storytelling, bird watching at Hauxley Nature Reserve and an evening talk with Bartle Rippon entitled Amble in Old Photographs, while tomorrow there are activities such as a circus workshop, a birds-of-prey display and a guided history walk with Harry McQuillen.
On Saturday – the festival’s final day – there is a food festival, with more than 20 food stalls, as well as the Great Puffin Festival baking competition, skiff sprint racing, dog show with numerous different classes and The Colony Music Festival.
Throughout the festival, there has been a Pete the Puffin trail, children’s puffin artwork displayed in various shop windows, appearances from Tommy Noddy the giant puffin, a fishermen’s ganseys display at Amble Harbour Village and puffin cruises from the harbour (weather permitting).
As part of the festival, Coun Lewis has created a new children’s book, featuring the adventures of one of the event’s mascots, Arty.
The book, entitled Arty Visits Amble The Friendliest Port, is £4 and available to buy from Amble Town Council office, Queen Street Post Office, 42 Queen Street, Spurreli, Harbour Post Office, the harbour village and the Marina office. 50p from each copy will go towards helping the puffins on Coquet Island.
The remaining profits will go towards community events throughout the town.
l For more information about the event, including the full programme, visit www.amblepuffinfest.co.uk or visit the Amble Puffin Festival Facebook page or follow @AmblePuffin Fest on Twitter.