city of the unexpected

On Saturday I spent a few hours in Cardiff at one of the busiest events I think Cardiff has ever seen. In case you don’t know, famous and respected children’s author Roald Dahl was born in Cardiff. To celebrate his 100th birthday, there was a massive two-day event that spanned the majority of the city centre. There were street performers, Mr Fox walking on a tightrope and even a giant peach!

roald dahl giant peach

The giant peach from James and the Giant Peach outside Cardiff Castle, with a huge crowd watching!

The giant peach sat in front of Cardiff Castle in the city centre, and a HUGE crowd of people watched the entertainment. Characters appeared at the top of the castle by the turrets, looking down at the peach – armies with guns, policemen shooing them away, and Mr Fox appearing and disappearing again. The many kids in the crowd loved it. The crowds were insane – we had to fight our way through to see anything, but the atmosphere was great!

roald dahl crowds

Look at these crowds! I don’t think Cardiff has ever been this busy… (Photo credit: South Wales Police Roads Policing Unit, @SWP_Roads)

Once we’d managed to get through the crowd, we went to visit my best friend Joely’s art exhibition in this great little place near the castle called The Emporium. Joely studies Illustration at University of South Wales and her artwork was part of a special Roald Dahl project.

roald dahl art exhibition

All of the artwork was amazing, and definitely fitted in with the theme of the day! After we saw the exhibition we walked along the castle wall. There was an odd banquet table in the middle of the road with performers doing something (we couldn’t see them properly through the people), and along the castle walls there were moving gargoyles. They were so cool, if not a bit creepy! It was so funny to hear the kids and most of the adults scream every time one of them moved. The best one, and the one that attracted the biggest crowd as well as the loudest screams and gasps, was a giant frog. The frog opened its mouth and its tongue rolled out of its mouth, showing a giant fly on the end of it.

roald dahl frog gargoyle

We went into Bute Park next and it was nice to be in such a big open space after being jostled by crowds. There were preperations being made in the Park for Sunday’s main event (a pyjama picnic in the park which I wish I could have gone to!). There were giant wooden chairs in different areas of the park which I assumed were something to do with The BFG. There were huge forks in trees and I have NO idea which story they were from. Finally there was a big house which we learned was an observatory. It had a stage outside it which was probably for a performance the next day.

roald dahl observatory

We didn’t manage to see very much else because some events were ticketed (apparently all the tickets sold out in an hour!) and the crowds stopped us from seeing a lot of things. It was such a great day though. I loved it! It was an amazing celebration of Roald Dahl’s birthday which I hope would have made him proud.

A shot from above at Roald Dahl's City of the Unexpected, September 2016