Mile Cross festival organisers urge community to ‘enjoy it while they can’

Mile Cross Community Festival. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Mile Cross Community Festival. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

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

Mile Cross Community Festival. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Mile Cross Community Festival. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

People, young and old, 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 even 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.

Mile Cross Community Festival. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Mile Cross Community Festival. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017


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'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.'

This year's event is host to an array of attractions, including a bird of prey display by Norfolk Wild Encounters, a first for the festival.

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Arena events include a Zumba display in which festival-goers can participate in and a children's keep fit group.

Youngsters can also been enjoy a soft play trampoline and bouncy castle as well as learning about bike maintenance.

Mile Cross Community Festival. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Mile Cross Community Festival. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

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.'

Among those enjoying what is on offer have been Charlene and David Parker.

The couple, both 37, from nearby Galley Hill attended with their children Scott, 12, Luke, 10, and Millie, three.

Mile Cross Community Festival. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Mile Cross Community Festival. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

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

She 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.'

The couple urged other groups to support the festival by attending or pledging financial support.

Mile Cross Community Festival. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Mile Cross Community Festival. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

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.

Mile Cross Community Festival. Picture : ANTONY KELLY

Mile Cross Community Festival. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

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.

The festival is funded by last year's event and community grants and is run by volunteers.

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