RUGBY’s seven-week World Cup party next year will centre on a 1,000-capacity Fanzone at the former marketplace off Railway Terrace.
The square will be home to a marquee and a big screen where Rugby World Cup matches will be shown.
Because of Rugby’s unique status as ‘Proud Home of the Game’, it will also host activities in between fixtures to create a tournament-long festival.
Rugby Borough Council bosses are asking businesses and community groups for their ideas, and hope to create a similar atmosphere to the town’s annual food and culture festivals.
The council also revealed further details about the town’s plans for the tournament, including street dressing, increasing tourism from home and abroad, and creating a lasting legacy by enhancing the town’s reputation as the home of the sport.
The former marketplace, now used as an extension to the neighbouring John Barford multi-storey car park, will be free to enter on matchdays, when food and drink will be available.
And unlike other host cities – whose Fanzones will only open to the public for specific fixtures – it will host cultural events throughout the seven-week long tournament.
Streets around the town centre and main routes into Rugby will be covered in banners and bunting, the Town Hall and Rugby Library will be decorated, roundabouts and verges will be landscaped, and the Pathway of Fame – plaques set into town centre pavements in 1991 commemorating the stars of that year’s tournament – will be given a facelift.
The plans were revealed to a variety of businesses and community organisations – ranging from a community choir, faith groups and youth workers through to pubs, restaurants, retailers, estate agents and professional services organisations – at a briefing last week.
Council culture spokeswoman Coun Heather Timms said: “I am very pleased with the feedback we’ve received so far.
“Some delegates have already asked us for individual meetings to follow up ideas that they have.
“The more ideas, the more people involved, the better. I think it gives the local community involvement in this festival, as well as giving our visitors a good time while they’re here.
“The eyes of the world are going to be on us. We want a real buzz, and want people to be involved watching games and attending events associated with Rugby – the town and the game.”
Council leader Coun Michael Stokes said: “This is one of the biggest opportunities this borough has ever seen.
“We’ve got a unique status, so we need to capitalise on that by using our community groups and businesses to get the ideas in and build on it.
“I think this really sets in stone the town’s status as the home of the game, so we need to capitalise on the tourism that we can get when people come to see the history, and where the game was born.”
A community forum will be held at the Benn Hall next Thursday (November 6), where residents can find out about the town’s World Cup plans.