Prior to visiting Geronimo Festival we had never been to a children’s festival before, and for that reason I wasn’t really sure what to expect! Although the festival ran from Saturday to Monday, due to it being Harry’s birthday weekend we decided to visit on the Monday, and the children were very excited!
Based at Arley Hall, Cheshire, we were pleased to find that the venue was well signposted and we were able to park easily. I was a little disappointed to discover that there was a £10 parking charge on arrival which, considering the price of the tickets, I would have expected to be included.
After a misunderstanding at the entrance where we were told our tickets were invalid (it turned out that she had scanned the wrong tickets!), we finally made it into the festival and were directed to a tent where we were given free samples of sun cream, rice cakes and magazines for the children. I thought that this was a really great idea!
I had imagined that the festival would be bustling with excitement, lots of music and things to do, but our initial reaction was a little under whelming.
Our first stop was a donkey ride and, after waiting patiently in the queue, the children finally took their turn. Megan would have been quite happy to stay on that donkey all day long, her little face was adorable!
Unfortunately, just a minute later when their turn was over, Harry really wasn’t very happy at all!
We soon cheered him up with a ferret race, a game where you had to crawl through a tunnel to beat the ferret. I’m not sure if he really won or not, those ferrets are fast, but the stall owner gave him a prize and he was over the moon with that!
Despite the lovely weather that weekend, the Monday was rather wet and dull, but luckily we found places to shelter and each tent had something different to entertain the children.
We had been looking forward to the Horseman of the knight show, and got to the arena early to watch. Unfortunately the speaker system was not working on the day, meaning that we couldn’t hear the commentary, and with the majority of people losing interest and leaving, the show fell a little flat.
Feeling a little let down by what we had seen of the festival so far, we decided to head over to the fairground, the part that the children had been the most excited for. Regardless of any other attractions, I knew that the children would be in their element on the fair rides and even the wet weather wouldn’t spoilt their fun!
After queuing for twenty minutes for the first ride, which is never fun with three little ones, we got to the front of the queue to be told that our wrist bands didn’t cover the fair ground rides and that we would have to purchase our tickets separately at the cost of £1 per child, and the same per adult to accompany them on the rides as they were too small to ride alone!
After having to fork out for the tickets, we got back in the queue, endured another twenty minute wait, and although I was feeling more than a little bit fed up by this point, I can’t deny that the children enjoyed it!
Luckily the queues had died down a little for some of the rides and the children loved every moment. The carousel has always been their favourite ride and mine too, and I loved sharing those moments with them.
Due to the fact that each ride cost us £4, and none ran for more than a couple of minutes, we couldn’t spent the whole day on the fair, and so convinced the children to check out the other attractions to break things up a little.
We were lucky to catch the dinosaur show, where a human operated dinosaur wandered around the crowd, much to the children’s squeals of delight – and fear!
Harry was over the moon to get to ride a real life “binosaur”, which was definitely the highlight of his day, or even his year!
Unfortunately a couple of the attractions were a little too old for the children but they did look like fun.
By lunch time the children were starving, and having never been before we assumed that it would be easier to buy something to eat there – how wrong we were! For the five of us, lunch cost £50 and, although I appreciate that food tends to be expensive at these events, given the fact that we had just a small portion of fast food and a drink, it did seem a little over priced.
After heading to the main stage to watch a show whilst we ate our lunch, we were looking forward to some of the big names we had seen advertised. Unfortunately it appeared that all of the main acts were on over the weekend and instead we sat and listened to Peppa Pig singing nursery rhymes and a two man Bollywood dancing show.
With just a small audience, and very little atmosphere of any kind, the children seemed rather fed up. I’m not sure if the weather had kept people away, or perhaps some of the acts had packed up and left once the weekend was over, but either way I had expected more in the way of entertainment.
There were parts of the festival that the children really enjoyed, one of our favourite being the bubble display. The children were amazed by the smoke bubbles and particularly enjoyed stomping all over them!
Megan was very excited that she was able to have a turn of the bubble guns, and it was lovely to see the children enjoying themselves.
The children were also able to play with hoola hoops and there was a lot of laughter from Gaz and I as we watched them trying to swing their hips!
One of my biggest bug bears with the festival was that the map was very basic, and it was impossible to know where everything was! We found ourselves walking around aimlessly at times and it was only afterwards when we returned home that we realised we had missed a couple of things further out of the main arena. I think had the map been clearer we would have been able to plan our day much easier.
I hate to be negative about any event, I appreciate that something like this must have taken a huge amount of planning and hard work. And I also know that having spoken to other bloggers who visited the festival for the full weekend, their experiences were very different. For that reason I can’t help but wonder whether it was simply a case of us attending on the wrong day which is unfortunate, but also disappointing, as I believe that if an event runs across three dates, every date should provide the same experience.
And although our day at Geronimo wasn’t quite what we had imagined, children are very good at forgetting the negatives and focusing on the positives. Even now, two weeks later, the children are talking about the Helter Skelter, even if I’m still begrudging the £12 it cost me for them to go on it!
Would I return to Geronimo? I’m still undecided. I think if we did go back I would avoid the Monday, give the weekend dates a try, and be sure to pack a very large picnic!!
For a review of the Saturday/Sunday please do pop over to my lovely friend Louise’s blog who loved the festival so much she hailed it the best festival we’ve ever taken the kids to!