THOUSANDS of people descended on a sun-drenched Cwmbran today for one of the town’s most popular summer festivals.
The number of visitors to the annual Cwmbran Big Event, located next to Llanyrafon Golf Course, is thought to have surpassed last year’s conservative figure of around 10,000 people, when it returned on a beautiful summer afternoon.
It boasted dozens of food stalls, arts and crafts stalls, as well as several “zones” designated to music and dance, sports, water activities, and play areas.
Torfaen council leader Bob Wellington, who was recognised in this year’s Queen’s birthday honours receiving a CBE for services to local government, said: “It’s another fantastic day at the Big Event. It’s great to see crowds enjoying themselves in this lovely weather and to see people joining in and taking part in the various activities we have on offer.
“Because of the great weather, we’re expecting even more than last year, when we had a rather underestimated figure of 10,000 people coming through the gates.”
Kerry Jenkins, 31, is the captain of Croesyceiliog Ladies Rugby but will turn her hand at coaching next season. She was at the Big Event to lead demonstrations with other members of the team, including a game of tag rugby, to try and recruit more players.
She said: “This is a great way of trying to get new members to the club. Women tend to think rugby is a male orientated sport but we are here to show that it’s not. The social element is a huge part of what we do as a team.”
Other events that took place in the so-called Sports Zone at the event included athletics, cycling, tennis, hockey, and netball for tots, as well as a Bokwa fitness demonstration and a session by Llanyrafon Ladies Football.
The Croesyceliog Ladies Rugby team, along with other such as Cwmbran Celtic and Ponthir Church in Wales School teams, were represented in various events including the much-supported raft race and hotly-contested tug of war competition.
The Lale family, from Cwmynyscoy near Pontypool, had visited the event since its inception a few years ago. Karen Lale, 46, who was there with husband John, 42, and their seven-year-old son Harvey, said: “It’s brilliant for the kids because there’s a lot to do here. The weather is making a big difference because people are coming here in droves. It seems it’s getting bigger and bigger every year.”
Evan Joseph, 32, and Claire Jones, 29, both from Pontnewynydd, visited the event with their daughter, Elisa, four.
Ms Jones said: “It’s great for the little one because there are so many other kids about and there’s a playground so they can all play together. But it’s good for adults as well, because there’s something for every age.”
There were also representatives from the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the Royal British Legion, who were advertising for their annual Great Gwent Poppy Run which takes place on Sunday, September 21.