By Daniel Hunter
As the Olympic torch lands on our shores, councils are laying on a whole range of events to make sure it shines a light on local talent.
Town halls have been working around the clock sorting out road closures for the torch relay convoy, recruiting tens of thousands of volunteer marshals to supervise the route, bedecking villages and towns with bunting and encouraging residents to plant red, white and blue window boxes and flower beds.
During each of the 66 evening stopovers the three main sponsors have organised entertainment for the crowds. As part of this, councils are laying on opportunities for local bands and other acts to perform in front of thousands of spectators.
There will also be a host of other community events laid on by councils, either during an overnight stay or as a torch winds its way through an area, including circus parades, sporting events, talent shows, gymnastics displays, arts and crafts, storytelling, gladiator duels and a tug of war.
Cllr Stephen Castle, Chairman of the Local Government Association's 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Task and Finish Group, said:
"Councils have been working extremely hard over the past months to sort out the thousands of road closures required in the 1,019 communities on route, as well as recruiting volunteer marshals to keep spectators safe. The torch relay simply wouldn't be possible without the sterling effort of council staff and the community-minded residents and groups who have offered to help.
"The torch relay is a fantastic event which brings communities and the whole country together, and we will really start to see Olympic fever pick up now as it travels through our cities, towns and villages. The eyes of the world will be upon us and councils are making sure the UK looks its best. They're also making sure their communities are left with a day to remember and local talent given the chance to shine."
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