The October event will be free to attend, organised by The Farnborough Society with help from the council
The major £1 million refurbishment of Farnborough’s Queensmead shopping centre will be celebrated with a free day-long festival.
The Farnborough Festival will hail the completion of the renovation of the pedestrianised shopping centre on October 26.
Kicking off at 8am, the 11-hour extravaganza will conclude with a spectacular light and music finale featuring the innovative new lighting system which is being installed at the centre.
The Farnborough Society is organising the festival with support from Rushmoor Borough Council.
Stages will be erected at both ends of Queensmead and a full programme of live musical performance has been planned throughout the day, along with plenty of other activities and entertainment.
“Our aim is ambitious,” said Councillor Barbara Hurst, secretary of The Farnborough Society. “We hope to persuade people to completely reconsider Farnborough town centre as a venue, as a cultural centre and as a really good place to shop and do business.
“For many years Farnborough has suffered a very negative image but things are changing. The cinema is finally under construction and that will attract new restaurants and cafés. This will increase visitors and Farnborough will once again have an evening economy.”
Improvements at Queens-mead include new paving and seating areas. A variety of trees will be planted along the length of Queensmead, which council officers hope will increase its attractiveness to shoppers and retailers. In addition, a large tree surrounded by seating will become the centrepiece of the centre and a meeting place.
A new square for markets and seasonal activities will be created at the southern end of Queensmead, and new lighting has also been approved.
Cllr Hurst said the festival will change attitudes in the town by ‘quashing the myth that Farnborough is a cultural desert’.
“It will become the beating heart of the town,” he added. “Major investment by Rushmoor Borough Council will create an attractive, uncluttered, multipurpose space that will effectively serve as the town square, something for which The Farnborough Society has campaigned since its formation.
“The Farnborough Festival, which will hopefully become an annual event, will demonstrate the enormous potential of Queensmead for a wide range of community activities such as farmers’ markets, themed markets, civic events, parades and more.”’
Queensmead project manager Brian Fyfe said: “The reality is that there is a thriving cultural scene here, and the Farnborough Festival will showcase its remarkable range and quality.
“The festival will promote the many advantages that Farnborough enjoys; its location and transport links, its rich heritage, its world-famous aviation activities, its business, engineering and innovation, its sports, parks and leisure facilities.”