SEAFRONT businesses are bracing themselves for this weekend’s Sunderland International Airshow.
This Saturday and Sunday sees the return of some of the world’s most spectacular aircraft to the coastline, including displays from the RAF’s Falcons and Red Arrows, as well as the death-defying Breitling Wingwalkers.
As many as one million people will flock to the area and many local businesses are bracing themselves for one of the biggest days of the year.
Claire Hafferty, head chef at the Bungalow Cafe, is looking forward to a bumper weekend. She said: “There’ll be a lot more people than normal coming through. I couldn’t tell you how many. It’s one of the main events of the year.
“Apart from the airshow, the next biggest day is maybe Boxing Day.
“If the weather is good on Saturday and Sunday, it’ll be mad in here.
“Really it will start on Wednesday or Thursday, with all the army people staying in the hotels.”
Claire has in the past tried to tailor her business to maximise the day and last year sold hot dogs, as well as food from her usual menu.
This year, however, she is sticking to the cafe’s traditional offerings.
“We went down the hot dog route last year, we’re not doing that again,” she said. “It’s just not what we’re about.”
Yards away along the road however, Sue Parkin, owner of Sue’s Place Roker Refreshments, is expecting almost the exact opposite.
Road closures and crowd control measures mean her business is effectively cut off for long periods during the event.
She said: “I’ll be much quieter. I usually seem to get my trade when they start to come back home this way.
“I can have a busier day on a nice, sunny Saturday. The way they close the roads off makes it very difficult for me. It can be empty down here.
“All my regulars probably won’t come down, although I do have people who come back every year because I don’t put my prices up like some of the vans.”
Despite the inconvenience, Sue remains a big supporter of the event.
The 48-year-old said: “It doesn’t really bother me, business is business.
“As long as it brings people to the area then I’m all for it.”