Visitors are being urged to plan ahead for the last night of Matlock Bath Illuminations this Saturday.
A fireworks finale will signal the end of the 2014 season - and, as organisers, we are urging visitors to use the event's park and ride service or public transport as car parks in Matlock Bath are likely to be full several hours before gates open at 6pm.
Deputy Leader Councillor Geoff Stevens MBE, who also comperes the Illuminations entertainment, said:
"The sheer volume of people who pour into Matlock Bath seems to catch a lot of people by surprise, and it can be a frustrating drive on the A6 between Matlock and Cromford for those who think it's just a case of driving in at the last minute.
"We really would urge visitors to give themselves plenty of time if they're planning to attend the last night of the season.
"From 5pm we operate a park and ride scheme based at Cromford Meadows to the south of Matlock Bath and the County Offices car park in Matlock to the north, and East Midlands Trains also operate an hourly service to Matlock Bath from Nottingham, Derby and Matlock along the Derwent Valley Line. Train passengers save 20% off the entrance price to the Illuminations on production of a valid train ticket.
"Our stewards work hard to ensure that the homes and driveways of people who live in and around Matlock Bath are respected, and we would appeal to visitors not to risk a £70 fine by parking illegally on grass verges along the A6. Notices have been posted warning motorists that these areas are patrolled.
"Inside Derwent Gardens, PA announcements urge visitors to be patient when it comes to viewing the magical parade of decorated boats. Front row areas become available as people at the front of the queue drift away – and the last night will in any case feature two parades, at 7.45 and 9.15."
This Saturday is the last of five "fireworks Saturdays" organised by the District Council for the 117th Illuminations – sponsored by local attraction the Heights of Abraham. There are also stalls and entertainment to enjoy in Derwent Gardens.
The traditional Derbyshire Dales spectacle burst into life on 6 September and the District Council is confident that it will hit its target of attracting around 100,000 into Matlock Bath during the season.
Councillor Stevens added:
"Fingers crossed that the excellent weather so far will continue into the last night. Not everyone visiting Matlock Bath for the Illuminations pays to visit the Derwent Gardens to see the magical parade of decorated boats, but those who do help to ensure that the Illuminations run at no cost to Dales Council Tax payers, while delivering a terrific boost to the local economy."
The deadline for online booking was 5pm on Monday (20 October), but tickets are available on the night from 5pm at the Derwent Gardens ticket offices or in person only from the Peak District Mining Museum in Matlock Bath (open daily 10am - 5pm). Prices are £5 adults and £4.50 over 60s/disabled people. Accompanied children aged 16 and under are free.
- We post regular Illuminations updates on our Facebook page.