Festival preparations steam ahead

SUPPORT for the region's first major Polish festival is growing today as the organisers announced another high-profile supporter for the event.

SUPPORT for the region's first major Polish festival is growing today as the organisers announced another high-profile supporter for the event.

Ipswich's Polish Arts Festival will be supported by the Polish Ambassador to the UK who will travel to the town for the grand finale event in Christchurch Park.

The ambassador's backing for the scheme follows support from the Polish Cultural Institute as well as the Polish Tourist Board and signals the Polish community's wholehearted embracing of the festival.

Among the latest acts to be signed up for the festival's main one-day event, the Polski Picnic in Christchurch Park, is Marek Czureja.

Ros Green, one of the event organisers, said: “Marek is a fantastic Polish Roma fiddler player based in London.

“He's a real gift so we need to get big kids and little kids to bring their violins along for a bit of magic.”

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Czureja's performance will be one of the most unique of the festival - with young violinists encouraged to bring along their instruments to take part in his free Children's Gypsy Violin Workshop.

The festival is the brainchild of Ms Green and Doug Hunter, the Rendham couple behind the successful Gypsy Arts Festival which began at the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket and has now blossomed to the Edinburgh Festival and an event next week in Kent.

The Polish Arts Festival will bring an art exhibition, film festival and outdoor picnic event to Ipswich next month.

It is expected to attract Polish people from throughout the region as well as large crowds of non-Poles keen to learn more about a culture becoming increasingly important in England.

The festival will climax on Sunday, September 21 with the free Polski Picnic held from 11am to 5pm. It will see performances of Polish music and dance and also feature Polish food, crafts and activities for children.

For more information on the festival visit www.polishartsfestival.co.uk.

How do you think Ipswich should celebrate its Polish immigrants? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk