Crowds at One Big Multicultural Festival celebrate diverse communities in Ipswich
Thousands of people turned out to celebrate the cultural diversity in Ipswich at the town’s annual One Big Multicultural Festival in Alexandra Park.
The event, being held for the sixth time, celebrates the diverse communities in the town and this year’s event helped to reinforce the celebration after several months of difficult times for the community.
Ipswich mayor Roger Fern summed up the background to this year’s festival as he made the opening speech at the event.
He said: “Over the last few months, in the wake of the referendum result, some people have said things they should not have done – and frankly they should have known better.
“It is good that we are able to come together as a community at a great event like this – but it is also very important to recognise and celebrate our differences. There is only one Roger Fern!”
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Other speakers included borough leader David Ellesmere, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, Felixstowe major Jan Garfield and EADT editor Terry Hunt.
The event was set up by the Ipswich and Suffolk Bangladeshi Support Centre – but its organisers and supporters come from across the community of Ipswich and Suffolk as a whole. The hosts on the stage were Terry Baxter, from Inspire Suffolk, and Stephanie Mackentyre, from BBC Radio Suffolk.
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Music on the stage was equally diverse – with Indian and Bangladesh performers through to musicians with African, Portuguese, and Balkan roots. There was also music from America that fused country, Cajun and folk strands.
Sunday afternoon’s event was held in near-perfect weather and the VIP guests symbolised the message of peace by releasing white doves from the stage after the official welcoming speeches.
As well as the music, stalls, a mini funfair and a huge variety of diverse food to buy, the event also featured sports competitions and other children’s activities including circus skills.