The Big Cheese 2012 began on Friday with the annual cheese race around Caerphilly Castle and this year’s Parade of Nations.
Speaking ahead of this weekend, Cllr Gaynor Oliver, Mayor of Caerphilly County Borough, said: “We know there are people from over a hundred different nationalities residing in the county borough and to mark the opening of the London 2012 Olympics we want to create our own ‘Parade of Nations’ with everyone wearing their country’s colours or costumes and waving flags. It will be a spectacular sight and a fitting tribute to this once in a lifetime experience.
“After the overwhelming response to the Olympic Torch Relay, where local people turned out in their thousands to join the celebrations, we are hoping that residents will come along and support us again in the same style.”
The Olympic Opening Ceremony was broadcast live on a giant plasma screen and there was also the traditional climactic firework display.
Ruth Chukoury and her family, from Caerphilly, proudly waved the flag for the small island of Mauritius during the festival’s Parade of Nations.
Ruth met her husband, Reshad, in Cheltenham before he followed her home to Wales where they married and settled with their two children. Reshad proposed to Ruth during a visit to the African island of Mauritius, where many of his family still reside.
Each year, during the Big Cheese weekend, Reshad’s mother, father and sister join his family in Wales and this year they will all be taking part in the parade.
Ruth said: “I believe it is important to celebrate all aspects of my children’s heritage and by joining the parade it will combine the Welsh and Mauritian cultures in an evening of celebration. We are really looking forward to the event and to meeting people of all different nationalities.”
The festival is expected to attract 80,000 visitors and current weather forecasts are looking good.
Residents across Caerphilly County Borough can again take advantage of a free bus service to get them to the festival.
There will be road closures over the weekend with Crescent Road closed from 9am on Friday July 27 to 9am Monday July 30, while Pentrebane Street will be closed to traffic on Saturday July 28 and Sunday July 29.
Park and Ride services available from St Ilan School and St Cenydd School on Saturday and Sunday. A small number of spaces should also available at St Martin’s School.
Three free bus services will pass through a number of towns and villages including Risca, Crosskeys, Wattsville, Cwmfelinfach, Ynysddu, Blackwood, Cefn Fforest, Pontllanfraith, Maesycwmmer, Pontlottyn, Fochriw, Deri and Bargoed en route to the Big Cheese site in Caerphilly.
The free buses will drop off and pick up at the main bus station in Caerphilly town centre.