Hermitage Road Day 2017: Smashing success as families flock to celebrate “rebirth” of Hitchin’s hippest street

Hermitage Road Day 2017: Imajica Theatre entertain the crowds dressed as pirates. Picture: Karyn Had

Hermitage Road Day 2017: Imajica Theatre entertain the crowds dressed as pirates. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

Hitchin’s Hermitage Road was swamped with visitors at the weekend, as businesses came together to celebrate the street’s “rebirth” on Hermitage Road Day.

Hermitage Road Day 2017: Felix Camfield-Walker in his VW Beetle. Picture: Karyn Haddon

Hermitage Road Day 2017: Felix Camfield-Walker in his VW Beetle. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

Independent businesses as diverse as Farley’s Hair Salon, the Hermitage Rd bar and the Gatefold Record Lounge clubbed together to put on the day of music, classic cars and other fun on Saturday.

Felix Camfield-Walker from Farley’s spearheaded the effort – and he told the Comet afterwards that the day could hardly have gone better.

“It was a fantastic day, with lots and lots of families coming down,” said Felix.

“The attendance was even higher than I thought it would be, and the weather was wonderful all day.

Hermitage Road Day 2017: Ruby Day, six, and Maisie Day, five, enjoy having their faces painted. Pict

Hermitage Road Day 2017: Ruby Day, six, and Maisie Day, five, enjoy having their faces painted. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant


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“There was another car show in town the same day, but we still had very high-quality cars lining the road – and all the shops made a huge effort to project out onto the street.

“There was a real Hitchin community vibe going on – a really good one. People were saying it was almost harking back to the days of Rhythms of the World, which was quite cool. People miss that.

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“We’re already talking about planning next year, and we’d like to get them involved as well. The idea has also been mooted for a Christmas one too.

“Tracy Hunt and Hitchin BID were amazing on this, and all the independent traders just put in all that extra bit of effort as well.

Hermitage Road Day 2017: Verity Oliver, Ellen Walkley, Jasmine Proud and Alison Savill from Panic In

Hermitage Road Day 2017: Verity Oliver, Ellen Walkley, Jasmine Proud and Alison Savill from Panic Ink. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

“I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out. People were asking if there would be another one next year – and not just a few.”

Felix said the day was a celebration for how Hermitage Road had been “reborn”, after being something of a wasteland just a few years ago.

He said: “It’s not so long ago that Hermitage Road was dead in the water, but now it’s pulled itself up and out and has some of the hippest and most popular businesses in Hitchin.

“This was a great chance for everyone to celebrate the rebirth of Hermitage Road.”

Town centre manager Keith Hoskins was similarly delighted by the day’s success, saying that had never seen so many people in Hermitage Road.

He said: “We’re thrilled to bits with it. We really like how someone can come in with an idea and we at the BID are able to run with it.

“It was wonderful to see so many people taking part. We did a Hermitage Road Day 12 years ago and we struggled a bit – but with feisty Felix behind it, he has really helped enthuse a lot of people.

“I couldn’t believe it when I turned into Hermitage Road from Bancroft – it was swamped, I’ve never seen so many people down there. It was brilliant.”

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