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2012 Summer Olympics: Duke of York public square projects Opening Ceremony

All eyes were on England Friday as the Opening Ceremony took place to commence the 2012 Summer Olympics. Fans from all over the world gathered around the city to watch the ceremony, filling places from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park.

With the flags of every nation in the world decorating the Duke of York public square, nearly 1,000 people gathered around the projection screen to watch the celebration begin.

“We run lots of events with the projection screen,” said Will Lewis, the manager of Duke of York Square. “We did throughout the summer … for a variety of events, including Wimbledon, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the English National Ballet.”

The spectators stayed actively involved all through the ceremonies, standing when “God Save the Queen” played and cheering for Mary Poppins when she defeated Lord Voldemort.

“I’m not going to lie, my expectations were very low for the opening ceremonies,” said Patrick White, a local from London. “But I was close to tears within the first five minutes of the ceremonies – it exceeded everything I thought it would be. And I loved how they highlighted the Industrial Revolution.”

Anna Roberts, a Hadrian’s Wall native, said she agreed with White’s critique of the show.

“Everything is usually underplayed in England,” she said. “Expectations are never built very high. It was interesting to see how they chose to represent the country – from an engineer to J.K. Rowling to a couple of different musicians.”

Not even rain could deter the audience as gray clouds threatened the event all evening and well into the night, occasionally releasing a few light showers.

“We actually wanted it to rain a little more so people would leave,” Roberts said, adding that it would mean better seating for them.

But seating was not in short supply for the evening, as Lewis brought in extra chairs for the spectators, as well as extra security guards.

“This is a very unique occasion,” Lewis said. “It is always difficult to guess the crowd, but we figured that it was going to be big. We hired a bunch of extra security for this event in particular to watch for crowd control, that sort of thing.”

Vendors from around the area set up tents to offer their services to the spectators.

“All of the vendors belong to the square – 35 all together,” Lewis said. “It is a prime local area, and this event helps them to get the word out about their services.”

In addition to the Opening Ceremony, Lewis said that the square would be projecting the Games for nine more days.

“We will also be showing the 100-meter dash and the closing ceremonies, among other events,” he said.

This article was provided through Scripps London 2012, a program allowing students in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism to cover 2012 Summer Olympics events in London. Four Post staff members are participating in the program.

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