A dinosaur extravaganza attracted thousands of people to Hull city centre for a great day out at a family festival of fun and frights.
Dino Day, which was organised by HullBID and presented by street entertainment specialists Bigfoot Events, brought caveman capers and prehistoric peril to a packed Queen Victoria Square.
Huge crowds circled the fountain and turned it into an impromptu stage for attractions which included a T Rex, a velociraptor, comedy cavemen, a giant dinosaur egg and two cute petting baby dinosaurs with puppeteers.
Also taking part was Steve Plater, co-owner of Hull’s own Dinostar museum in Humber Street. Steve presented a mini display of some of the more portable fossils from the museum and attracted families who queued across Queen Victoria Square to visit his stall, with many then heading to the museum.
He said: “It’s been incredible really. People have been telling me they haven’t seen so many people here for years. Crowds come out to see dinosaurs because they like stories and they like to be a bit scared. It’s fun but it’s not dangerous – the dinosaurs aren’t going to chase you and get you.
“I’ve heard from my colleagues that after people have been here they have gone over to the Dinostar museum to see what else we have. It’s terrific that HullBID brought this to the city. It’s their doing and they are a great organisation which helps businesses in so many ways.”
Other businesses also welcomed crowds of people who jumped on Dino Day as an opportunity for a family day out. Food and beverage outlets were particularly busy with queues at restaurants, cafes and take-aways, and non-food businesses across the city centre also saw an increase in trade.
Sally Waters retail manager at the Emmaus store in Whitefriargate, said: “It’s fantastic. There’s families out, all enjoying the really lovely atmosphere, and all the kids are telling us about the dinosaurs.
“Any event that brings in this sort of footfall is fantastic for businesses. We expanded into this store six months ago from a smaller one nearby and when there are events like this it certainly does improve the footfall and the selling and people get to know about us.
“People who wouldn’t normally hit the city centre come in for certain events and they see us and learn about Emmaus and the work we do with homeless people in Hull and the East Riding.
“HullBID is phenomenal. They always have events on and they let us know regularly when things are happening. A lot of the businesses work together and support the HullBID events so that we can improve business.”
Kathryn Shillito. HullBID Executive Director, said there is much more to come with a steampunk festival in October and an exciting programme of events for 2023.
She said: “We organised Dino Day because children love dinosaurs! What we’ve seen is the city centre packed with people who have come in to enjoy free, family-friendly entertainment.
“I have seen the queues at some of the food businesses and they’ll be delighted because people are spending, whilst the non-food shops are also busier as well.
“In this climate it’s about providing a popular event, cost-free for parents, but ultimately we want to see the shops doing a good trade. We are delighted with the response and we are working on developing more initiatives that will have a wider scope.
“Steampunk is new for us, but we visited the Lincoln festival to get a sense of how it all knitted together, and we are now working with the Ministry of Steampunk to bring it to Hull. It’s building to be an exciting weekend that will attract thousands of people from the steampunk community, and the wider public are encouraged to join in.”