We arrived the day before and were able to soak up the atmosphere in the town and there was a buzz of excitement amongst visitors and locals alike. There was a sense of pride that Dartmouth had been chosen to host the end of the stage, and preparations were well under way to make certain that everyone would have the best possible experience on the day of the race.
We arrived early on the morning of race day, and what a transformation. Hundreds of barriers were lining both sides of the route along the riverfront. Lorries filled the car park and the technical crew, in their fluorescent orange jackets were hard at work everywhere. We made our way to the Royal Avenue Gardens, where we were to meet the Dartmouth in Bloom team. They were ready to get to work on decorating the podium, but it was not quite ready for them, so we had time to speak to their press officer, Susan Thomson. She very kindly showed us the Community Greenhouse, where the flowers for the podium display had been grown. She told me that the green house is run by volunteers and as well as growing plants for the town, they also look after people’s plants for them if they are away from home.
Creating the podium display.
The technicians make their preparations.
After viewing the greenhouse, we took some time to watch the preparations for the big event. It seemed that hundreds of people were involved, and they were all working very hard to get everything ready in time.
50,000 PeopleIt was then time for us to take a stroll along the riverfront to claim a good spot from which to watch the race. Although there were still over two hours until the racers were due to arrive there were thousands of people already waiting. An estimated 50,000 people were in Dartmouth on to see the race, many of them were from far afield and we heard accents from several other countries, as well as from different parts of the United Kingdom.
The Gardening Times.com would like to thank the Mayor of Dartmouth, Councillor Paul Allen, and Susan Thomson for the warm welcome they gave us and we are delighted that the day went so well.
And The Winners Are...
Just as this article was preparing for publication it was announced that Dartmouth was the Gold Winner in their group for the South West in Bloom 2012, being awarded the coveted Ayre Cup. Congratulations!