Families flock to Mile Cross Festival but there are fears over its future

Dance event taking place in the arena at Sloughbottom Park as part of the 36th Mile Cross Festival.

Dance event taking place in the arena at Sloughbottom Park as part of the 36th Mile Cross Festival. PIC: Peter Walsh - Credit: Archant

Enjoy it while you can - that is the message from organisers of a long-running community festival in Mile Cross.

People, young and old, have descended on Sloughbottom Park today (Saturday, June 24) for the 36th Mile Cross Community Festival.

From small beginnings, the event now attracts scores of people and families from Mile Cross and surrounding areas.

But while organisers hope the rain will hold off for this year's event, there are real concerns about whether next year's festival will happen.

Richard Edwards, chairman of the Mile Cross Community Festival committee said: 'This year's event is the same as every year - it's for the community, to bring people together in harmony and enjoyment.

'We're really struggling with funds. We don't know if we're going to have one next year. We're trying to sort something out for next year but at the moment we're struggling.'

The festival was opened by Norwich's Lord Mayor David Fullman. He said: 'I think it's really great and shows that the community really looks after itself.'

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Charlene and David Parker, both 37, and from nearby Galley Hill attended with their children Scott, 12, Luke, 10, and Millie, three.

Mrs Parker said: 'We come every year. We like walking around - it's nice to bring the community together.'

The said it would be 'a shame' if it did not continue.

Mr Parker said: 'Its not the biggest one around but it's nice people can get together and see their friends.'

Gavin Goldsmith, 33, from Adelaide Street, Norwich, had not been to the event before but was impressed.

Mr Goldsmith, who took his two children Mackenzie, four, and Connor, 12, said: 'We haven't been before it's the first I've heard of it but would definitely come back again - there's a lot of stuff here.

'It gives the kids something to do.'

Mr Goldsmith admitted it would be 'a shame' if the event did not go ahead next year.

Catherine Merriman, 51, from Norwich, and her sister Ann, 57, from Fakenham, also attended.

Catherine said: 'I've never been before but it's good. It's nice, there's a variety of things. I would come again.'

Ann said: 'I think it's really good. It's a good way to get all the community together.'

The festival started on Peterson Park with only a few stalls and attractions.

But after it continued to grow, it was moved to Sloughbottom Park a few years ago.

As well as the arena events, this year's festival also has classic cars, craft stalls and exhibits by groups and organisations including the Scouts, Army, emergency services, Norwich Labour Party, the Norman Centre and Phoenix Centre.