It was almost like the last day of summer - the sun blazed down from a cloudless sky as youngsters gathered at the top of the High Street ready to parade down into the town....an unmissable opener to the Uckfield Festival Big Day.
Just 24 hours later the rains came - but even that couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of eager participants in the Kit Car Grand Prix.
Hundreds took part in the Big Day parade accompanied by the Spiritus Drumming Band and demonstrating the glories of a summer in the country with giant, hand-made, colourful birds and flowers held high.
The streets were lined six deep while local eateries and coffee houses brewed refreshing cool drinks to tempt customers, many of whom had come into town from across the county and beyond.
Luxford Field was the setting for a host of demonstrations and shopping opportunities. Local groups had set up stalls to demonstrate to visitors just how much Uckfield has to offer the community throughout the whole of the year.
As well as tons of books, bric-a-brac, plants, all types of edible goodies, arts and crafts, jewellery, and games, people could enjoy an on-the-spot massage, watch exciting displays from Polefit, introduce children to the resident magician or find out more about the town’s Neighbourhood Plan team and Volunteer Centre. Heard barking at the back of the field? Then you’ll have seen judges deliberating at the Fun Dog Show.
Fame of the Festival has now spread far and wide and the Big Day is just the start of a week of events.
It takes place during the second week in July every year and its origins date back to the Millennium year of 2000 when the Association was created to organise a Festival as a one-off event.
Objectives set by the Association have remained true to form; organisers aim to ‘advance the education of the public and offer an awareness of the arts, in particular music, speech, drama and the visual arts.’
The intention was not to be heavy handed but to ensure visitors could enjoy an activity they were not familiar with and simply have fun.
This week has already been action packed with plays, comedy evenings, the Lions 10k Fun Run at the Rugby field, guided walks, the Festival Radio Play on UckfieldFM, performances at the Pamphilon Theatre and Luxford Centre, entertainment at the library, classical, jazz and popular music evenings, the East Sussex Schools art exhibition at Uckfield Community Technology College and a wonderful concert, The Fibonacci Sequence at St Margaret’s Church, Buxted Park.
Still to come is Lemon and Paice at the Luxford Lounge and Uckfield Soul Night at the Cinque Ports Club, both tonight; Hempstead Meadow Nature Reserve Open Day, Black Tie fun casino evening at the East Sussex National, both tomorrow and Funday on Sunday at Luxford Field, Newtown Action Group Open Garden at Selby Meadows, a walk around the top of the town and Last Night of the Proms at the Civic Centre (all Sunday.)
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