Monday, 2 May 2016

Sweeps Festival 2016

We are based in a group of small towns but collectively we are a historic area; in celebrating this we usually have festivals placed throughout the year. The Sweeps festival is always a family favourite as it incorporates education, fun and family togetherness.

As a child there was rarely a year that either my parents or my aunt didn't take us to it. I always remember being transfixed on all of the different dancers that were there. Each seemed to have a little individual twist to make them different.

The modern day Sweeps Festival is a colourful mix of music, dancing and entertainment with more than 60 Morris and Folk dancers as well as general entertainers celebrating throughout the three-day festival.

The festival recreates the joy and laughter enjoyed by the chimney sweeps community and the one time of the year that they would leave the soot behind and have some fun. It seemed that this yearly event has passed down through the decades to be an event that we all enjoy.

So much fun to be had even if a rather busy!

Last year we went and I will be honest and say that I struggled a bit with it. The walking was difficult as the festival is stretched across the town in different places. If you then add the feature that there are literally hundreds of people walking and watching then it became a bit of a deadly activity for me!

Learning from my mistake last year we took my mobility scooter this time with the hope that it would save my legs the pain and help run over the odd person who got in our way too!

I thought it would be ideal to show you some of what we experienced:

Coming over the bridge of the River Medway we were greeted by the sight of the castle and the funfair in its ground.

I decided that we should go there first; I thought letting the boys get the want of going out of their system was the best idea despite me thinking that it might be a but of a nightmare!

Most of the rides, as expected, were over priced and had queues of around 15 minutes. I have to admit that to muddle our way through without the boys wanting to go on every single ride was difficult but they understood that they couldn't do everything.

Luckily the boys were happy with a go on Hook a Duck and a small ride in a haunted house. Which, again, was over priced and, according to the boys, rather boring; William actually said "The carousels music is scary than that, daddy!"

After a little look around and seeing families gathered together on the grass, eating picnics and listening to some of the bands that were playing we decided that we should grab some lunch.

We managed to grab ourselves some pulled hog roast rolls and we were happy again! There is a little stall that does these every year but I am glad it is a yearly event, we could eat them all day long!

Fed and satisfied we then headed off to the High Street to watch a selection of Morris and Folk dancers.

Might as well recruit them whilst they're young!

We even managed to watch some May Pole dancing this year!

Despite it being a Daddy day we knew Mummy was volunteering as a NCT breastfeeding support as well as her dragging along her partner S, who we saw a few times in the day, so we made sure we popped in to have a quick hello before we headed off.

Of course we couldn't leave without having some ice-cream though! (Or so the boys told me!) So we grabbed a couple and sat on the grass watching the world go by.

This is always a great day and although, admittedly, you find some of the dancing slightly repetitive it is much more than that. You get this real family spirit supported by so many different companies and organisations that have come together just for the community.

This, of course, is wonderful but you also find that people within the community join in even when they are not part of the days events.

Lastly, the good sign of the day is that the boys, although later than normal, went to bed looking exhausted and happy and I am sat here with a glow in my cheeks after being out in such glorious sunshine!

Do you have anything like this locally?

Hope you all have had a good bank holiday weekend!

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