All the fun of Uckfield Festival

Bumper to bumper at last year's Kit Grand Prix by Ron Hill
Bumper to bumper at last year's Kit Grand Prix by Ron Hill

Twenty local schools will be involved in this summer’s Uckfield Festival events.

Throughout the town and surrounding villages children are busy preparing their contributions to two of the Festival’s biggest events -The Big Day carnival parade and the Kit Car Grand Prix.

A record tally of local schools has signed up to take part in this year’s carnival parade in Uckfield on Saturday July 12 - the Big Day. The riot of colour going down the High Street is always the highlight of the summer in Uckfield with town residents pouring onto the street to view the fantastic constructions built by local schoolchildren under guidance from community artists Same Sky.

This nationally renowned carnival arts group was responsible for the huge success of the Children’s Parade in the Brighton Festival last month and has been working with local schools since the Festival started in the year 2000.

The Big Day procession marks the opening of the annual Uckfield Festival, a ten day event celebrating the best of local music, theatre, dance and children’s events.

Festival Chairman Dorothy Sparks commented: “I am just hugely excited with all the preparations. Let’s hope the weather is kind to us. So far it looks good. Whatever it brings, people love the Festival and give us so much support.”

Meanwhile children at twenty schools are building cars in preparation for the Grand Prix which takes place on the Bellbrook Industrial Estate on Sunday, July 13. Organised by Uckfield Community Technology College and supported by Uckfield Rotary Club, the Grand Prix pits teams of year six primary school children against each other in an authentic motor-racing style event complete with marshals, safety tyre-walls, pits and balaclavas.

UCTC spokesman Geoff Evans said: “When we became a technology college, we decided this was a good way to involve both our own students and primary school youngsters in practical and testing projects. Initially the cars were provided, but since then the race has grown and many schools taking part ‘personalise’ their cars and win local sponsorship.

“Our advanced skills teacher Rory O’Connor supports all the schools involved, visiting most when he can. One school screened its ‘pit’ with a sheet and a ‘tunnel’ - inside was the car decked out in the shape of a black rat. This is a perfect way to introduce elements of technology that have a specific purpose. We are very lucky that TR Fastenings have allowed us to use their car park since the beginning.”

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