7th Animal WindFest a success – even without wind!
Despite there being an unfortunate lack of wind this weekend, Animal WindFest still managed to draw in huge crowds. Some of the water-based activities weren’t able to happen due to the lack of wind, but the beach-based activity and Thundercats were a huge success, keeping over twelve thousand visitors entertained along the Sandbanks shoreline. As ever, the Animal Braun Cruzer3 Bike Tour was a great crowd-puller, with riders Martyn Ashton and Chopper executing gravity defying stunts that wowed even the most seasoned WindFest visitor.
However, it was the all-new Pool Cap Slider that proved to be one of the biggest attractions. As it was the first time anything of its kind had been built in the area, all concerned were curious to see the tricks that the professional wakeboarders would perform, as they went from one of the man-made pools to the other on the slider, being pulled by a high powered winch. Even Radio One DJ Jo Whiley came down to have a look, as both her and her family are keen wakeboarders. The fact that it garnered such interest was a great bonus for the organisers, who had spent several days building the pools on the beach and having them filled with sea-water by a team of helpful firemen!
Although not all of the competitions could take place due to the weather, the ones that did had the crowds rooting for their favourite to win. Friday saw the windsurfing National Freestyle Championships, with Andy Chambers winning for the second year running. There was also Thundercat racing on the Saturday and Sunday, with the competitors reaching top speeds of 50 mph. Out of the water, the British Beach Volleyball Championships got into full swing, with XX wining the women’s final, and XX winning the men’s.
Gary Willingham, organiser of WindFest, commented; “Although we were disappointed with the weather, we couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out in the end. Everyone’s hard work really paid off, from the team who built the Pool Cap Slider, to everyone who competed. WindFest gets bigger and better every year, and we’re already thinking of ways to grow for next year – hopefully the wind will be more cooperative for 2007!”
WindFest isn’t all about the daytime, though – there’s also the Friday night Butterfly Ball, and the Saturday night Animal Party. The Butterfly Ball, normally a more reserved affair, this year really came into its own, with two hundred and sixty people enjoying a two-course meal provided by The Pig and Whistle, and then finishing off the evening with dancing and a Vegas-style charity casino. The theme this year was simply ‘Gold’, and there were some truly glamorous outfits! The following night was the Animal party, which is always a highlight of the weekend – and this year was no different. Twelve hundred people danced the night away in a marquee on the beach, with John James Newman, cover-band Soasis and DJ Luke Dubyah providing the music. All in all, a fitting way to celebrate Animal WindFest 2006.
See all the action in pictures on the Animal WindFest gallery: www.animalwindfest.co.uk