IT is St Helens' turn to steal the limelight this week when the Summer Streets festival gets underway in the town centre.
The centre of attention will shift from Liverpool and its Giants as St Helens celebrates three days of some of the finest street entertainment on offer.
The event begins tomorrow (Thursday, July 31) in Church Square and Church Street and runs until this Saturday, August 2. Organisers are hoping for up to 10,000 visitors.
Among the highlights will be Candyman, a two time world champion human statue who has performed across the world.
He is also a regular act at Covent Garden in central London.
Saurus promises to be another star attraction. Created by Dutch artists Close Act, it features roaming dinosaurs in a spectacular piece of street theatre.
There are also dance performances, comedy stunt acts and trapeze artists along with children’s rides and a beach barbecue in Church Square. There will be a local flavour to some of the performers too after the festival forged links with the Heart of Glass arts project.
Break-dancing squad the UC Crew will be among some of the St Helens acts performing.
St Helens Council, which has organised the event, hopes it will draw plenty of families into the town centre, potentially boosting retailers, cafes, restaurants and bars.
Council leader Barrie Grunewald said Summer Streets is part of the town’s “event programme” designed to boost retail and provide people with a range of cultural events.
He added: “The event is simply brimming with wild and wonderful street acts that will amaze and enthrall audiences of all ages. It’s top drawer entertainment and it won’t cost you a penny.”
Gary Maddock, from the council’s events team, said: “There will be so many different things this year it’s going to be fantastic. And with the involvement of the Heart of Glass there will be a number of dance acts.
“One act which attracted a great deal of attention was JP Puppets which is one of my favourites from last year and is coming back. A lot of people really enjoyed his performance.
“This should be the biggest entertainment event we have ever put on in the town centre and kicks off a busy schedule of events with the launch of the summer beach next week.
“There have already been so many positive comments even before Summer Streets has even started. Everyone is really looking forward to it.”
The entertainment begins each day from 11am and runs late into the afternoon.
For a full timetable visit sthelensstar.co.uk, which will also feature pictures and video of the festival.
Star readers can also follow updates via our Facebook and Twitter pages as well as sharing their images and views of the street entertainment.