I wrote a few months ago about how we are Geronimo Family Festival Ambassadors for 2016 and so this meant that when the show came to town (well Leeds!) we would go and experience what the festival had to offer and write a review of our findings. I have to be honest here and say that on Sunday night, whilst packing up our picnic for the festival I saw comments on the festival’s social media accounts that left me feeling uneasy. Mentions of queuing, traffic congestion and a lack of food choice from disgruntled festival goers filled my timeline. But, what I also saw was a message from the organisers acknowledging that some visitors had not had a good experience at the festival, apologising about the delays accessing the festival and an explanation that they had both amended the opening times/closing times because of this. It also stated that there were also plans in place to ensure there was not a repeat of this the next day.
I felt sure from the statement that the organisers had acted upon the issues and I was right. Myself, Richard and the kids attended the festival as planned on Monday (2nd May) and actually, had a fabulous time! We arrived at Harewood House at about 11am, we drove straight into the festival, paid our £5 parking fee (as expected) and headed into the festival. We picked up our passes easily and made our way onto the site to explore Geronimo.
On first view, despite the weather not being great, I thought the festival looked pretty good fun. We love festivals and so I knew what to expect. There were clearly lots of large tents, rides and food/stalls available to visit so we set off to enjoy our day. The kids were very keen to have a go on the helter skelter so we went over to join the (very short) queue. We had a go on the steam fuelled carousel and a few other ‘ride on’ style rides with no issues at all. No queuing really and the kids loved them! What we especially liked about the festival is that all the rides and entertainment are included in the entrance fee. No worrying about paying for each ride and certainly less hassle. The weather wasn’t too kind to us at this point, but we soldered on regardless! It was nothing coats, hats and wellies couldn’t handle.
During our day we wandered around the festival and stumbled across various fun activities. Once the rain came down earlier on for example, when running for shelter we found a gold (special gems) panning stand, which the kids loved and it certainly kept them occupied whilst we waited for the rain to at least ease off! The kids found some lovely small gems and the staff on hand to help were helpful and friendly.
In order to keep the day easier on the pocket we took a picnic and ate it in our new Land Rover, Lily! There are lots of dedicated picnic spots on site which I think is important for a family event and it’s good to see that people aren’t forced to spend money on food when they perhaps don’t want to. The tickets to the festival aren’t cheap, but there are ways to keep costs down. We had lots of fun heading back to Lily for our picnic though and with just a short walk back to the car, through picturesque woodland, it was definitely the right decision. We also had a lot of fun jumping in huge puddles!
The main stage at Geronimo was smaller than I had anticipated, but in my opinion for the numbers at the festival it was perfectly fine. There were no screens at either side of the stage, which would have been useful for tots if stood at the back of the crowd, but most parents held children on their shoulders so they could see the shows in any case. We saw Andy and the dinosaur, Mr Bloom and also Swashbuckle. All the shows were fun and from what I saw, the audience were getting involved, dancing etc and the children were smiling so I guess that means the shows were a success! We were lucky to meet Mr Bloom after his afternoon show too which was great!
Rich and I and the kids really enjoyed our day at Geronimo. We even got to enjoy ice creams in the afternoon sunshine (the weather really was lovely in the afternoon!) The site is fairly easy to navigate around and there is a lot of entertainment walking within the grounds too, which we loved! There are no maps but there really is no needs, it’s part of the fun exploring afterall!Street style magicians, entertainers, dancers and stilt walkers are there to keep the crowds happy and smiling when wandering the fields and queuing for the rides, it’s a great touch. There are lots of stalls, charity tents and fun activities for smaller tots and older children too at the festival and whilst we didn’t explore these, lots of people seemed to be enjoying these zones.
We actually spent most of our time at Geronimo Festival on the rides, which is what the kids wanted to do but the festival actually has plenty more to offer. We explored the craft tent later on but there are shows on throughout the day such as a circus, acrobats, story telling and live music. There really is something to suit every child.
Overall, we had a really good day out at Geronimo and we would most definitely return. I absolutely acknowledge that changes were made to make Monday’s event run more smoothly and for this I’m thankful. I just hope that the event returns to Harewood House next year and that lots of families return too! Wherever there are thousands of people, there are queues but perhaps with the amendments in place, next year will be bigger and better, fingers crossed! But regardless, Geromino Festival definitely gets a thumbs up from us!
Geronimo returns to Tatton Park, Cheshire at the end of May, you can find out more about the festival or buy tickets here. Ticket prices start at £25 and under twos are free!
*Disclosure: This post was written by myself in collaboration with Geronimo Festival and we are Geronimo Festival 2016 Ambassadors. All words and opinions are my own. For more information please see my Disclosure Policy *
Photo Credit: Photographs in this post were taken by Richard Hart