The annual North East Lincolnshire Armed Forces weekend returns to full force this year, after celebrations for the previous two years were halted due to the Covid pandemic.
Armed Forces Weekend is a mix of thrilling exhibits and fun attractions. The huge free event is known to attract around 200,000 visitors to Cleethorpes, with the added benefit of boosting the local economy.
The center of Cleethorpes and the length of the seafront are expected to be packed with people during the June event, with plenty to see and do throughout the exciting festival. The Red Arrows and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, including the Lancaster bomber, will be among the highly anticipated highlights.
Read more: Ferris wheel back in Cleethorpes for Armed Forces weekend
A huge carnival and dozens of shopping stalls are also expected to be a huge hit. Here’s everything you need to know about Armed Forces Weekend 2022.
What is Armed Forces Weekend in Cleethorpes?
With breathtaking exhibits and attractions to entertain the whole family, North East Lincolnshire Armed Forces Weekend is designed to keep the British Armed Forces community, including serving military, reservists, veterans and cadets and their families in the public eye.
The Armed Forces Major Events Team (AFMET), based at The Knoll, Cleethorpes, is organizing the event. The group hailed the Armed Forces Weekend this year as a “true post-Covid19 public unifier”.
When is Cleethorpes Armed Forces Weekend?
This year’s Armed Forces Weekend opens on Friday June 24 and continues on Saturday June 25 and Sunday June 26. Day one will be dominated by a huge carnival across Cleethorpes. The main flypasts will take place on Saturday and Sunday.
Kicking off the weekend will be a Cleethorpes Carnival Parade, from 6-8pm on Friday. It will include floats, dancers, musicians and marching bands. It has been over five years since Carnival took place in Cleethorpes; before that, it ran for 40 years and was watched by over 25,000 visitors.
The main attractions over the weekend will be displays by the Red Arrows, the Typhoon Display Team and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, as well as the Royal Navy Black Cats. AFMET Director Gavin Marshall said the celebration and salute to the Armed Forces would be the biggest demonstration since the station hosted the National Armed Forces event in 2016 (Scarborough hosts the national event this year, the same weekend).
When can the Red Arrows and Lancaster Bomber be seen?
There will be two days of great flying to be seen, as the Cleethorpes event piggybacks on the national event, just a few minutes flight from Scarborough. On Saturday there will be a 29 Squadron Typhoon from RAF Coningsby, the full Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, with the Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane, plus the Red Arrows.
A Mustang P51 “Miss Helen” will also appeal to older aircraft enthusiasts. The Mustang P51 is set to return on Sunday, as are the Hurricane and Typhoon displays.
Another highlight will be the magnificent views of the Royal Navy Black Cats display team with their helicopters, along the waterfront. Saturday flight times are flexible but should be between 1pm and 5pm, and the Sunday schedule is awaiting confirmation.
The flypasts on Saturday, June 25 will take place between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., but specific times will be flexible. They will include:
- RAF Typhoon
- Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, with Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane
- Gemini Miles Display
- WWII P51 Mustang ‘Miss Helen’
- Starling Display
- The red arrows
The schedules for the Sunday June 26 flypasts have yet to be announced, but the exhibits are expected to include:
- Typhoon and Hurricane Demonstration Teams
- Royal Navy Black Cats Helicopter Display Team
What else is going on at Armed Forces Weekend?
Exhibitions, parades and entertainment will extend from the pier to the leisure centre. The Army, Royal Navy and other military associations, including veterans, will participate over the weekend.
Local businesses, shopkeepers, restaurateurs and bartenders will all be working hard to offer a warm welcome to residents and visitors alike. The Ferris wheel will return to the recreation center, and the grandstands and stalls will be open from noon on Friday, with evening entertainment on the Memorial Gate stage.
On Friday evening, the Carnival Parade will depart from Grant Street at 6 p.m., passing through the waterfront and dispersing at Boating Lake. Saturday’s activities will begin in the morning, with static displays including the Royal Anglian Regiment, 250 Medical Squadron and 158-160 Royal Logistics Corps, as well as recruiting stands staffed by the three branches of the armed forces.
Additionally, there will be exhibits throughout the weekend by the Lancers, musical entertainment, and an exhibit from the CVRTs (combat vehicle reconnaissance tracked)). The Parade of Veterans and Standards will again be the focal point on Saturday afternoon before the start of the main flying activity.
On Saturday evening, live bands will perform on the Memorial Gate stage, along with a traditional sunset parade. The evening will end with a 20-minute fireworks display, set to music, at 10:30 p.m. This extended exhibition will mark the year of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Sunday will feature more flypasts, as well as trade and exhibition stands. Blighty, the 1.80m mascot bear, will be on hand for selfies and cuddles with the little ones.
How much does it cost to attend?
The hugely successful Armed Forces Weekend is the largest free event held on the entire east coast. The AFMET website posts up-to-date details as times are confirmed and finalized.