Art in the Park returns to Leamington this weekend

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Elephants were once again paraded through Leamington last weekend, to celebrate the arrival of Art in the Park at the weekend.

Those who know their local history will recall that circus trainer Sam Lockhart used to walk his elephants through the town in Victorian times.

Last Saturday’s display featured three fibre glass elephants, which travelled on wheels down the Parade and into the Royal Priors Shopping Centre, where they were given a two-day makeover.

The event was held to mark the arrival of the Arts in the park festival, which begins tomorrow (Saturday) in Jephson Gardens with a circus theme.

Festival director Carole Sleight said: “Art in the Park is a great opportunity to celebrate a gem of local history in a creative way.”

The elephants went on display for a week in the Royal Priors, where in fact the ‘Three Graces’ (Haddie, Trilby and Wilhelmina, the same names as Sam Lockhart’s elephants) were once sited, and can now be found in Jephson Gardens.

Gerry McManus, manager of the Royal Priors, said: “The elephants have created a great conversation, with people wanting to know more about their history and who the artists are.

“The festival looks like it’s going to be another busy one for the parks and town.”

For the makeover, artist and designer Emma Caplin used collage to recreate the festival’s floral icon. Creative dabbler of arts Okse was inspired by the bio-mechanical work of HR Geiger, with the twists and turns of street art, while Sarah Methuen created a fantasy Wilhelmina with golf leaf tusks which reflected her Art and Theatre background.

The festival will include about 150 artists, makers and designers who will be creating, demonstrating and selling their work during the free-to-attend event returning to Jephson Gardens on Saturday, August 5 and Sunday, August 6.

There will be more than ten circus-inspired activities with workshops ranging from making a felted elephant to juggling balls.

For the festival line-up go to: