Gallery: Communities come together at Big Multicultural Festival in Alexandra Park, Ipswich

IPSWICH: Exotic aromas filled the air as thousands gathered for a huge multicultural festival to celebrate the town’s diversity.

Crowds packed into Alexandra Park to enjoy a feast of food from around the world along with traditional music, dance displays and a chance to try out new games and sports.

Organisers from the Bangladeshi Support Centre crammed everything from Bollywood and Bhangra dancing to displays of martial arts and south Asian team sport kabbadi into the day in a bid to represent as many communities as possible from the area.

Centre chairman Boshor Ali said: “It’s been fantastic. We were a little bit concerned about the weather so none of the team had a very good night’s sleep, but it was OK in the end.

“We’ve been very pleased by the turnout. There has been something for everybody. It’s our first big event but we have succeeded in getting a lot of different people engaged.

“Every ethnic minority is here, so people from all backgrounds in Ipswich have supported this event. We are definitely doing something even bigger next year.”

Mr Ali thanked the sponsors, festival partners and more than 60 volunteers who helped make the day a success.

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Families made the most of the fairground rides while others gathered round the stage to see performances of a Chinese peacock dance or music from Suffolk bands like the B Goodes.

There was also a chance to have a go at some African drumming, try traditional Bangladeshi board game kam, and sample foods from around the globe such as Turkish pastry dish borek.

Alison Fletcher, 43, of Fonnereau Road, said: “The stage is always good and the fact that we have got so many cultures on offer is just great.

“We loved the mela in Christchurch Park so I think having one big festival works really well.”

The Evening Star was among the supporters of the event and reporter Paul Geater was one of the speakers between the entertainment.

He said the success of the day showed Ipswich was a place where people with very different heritages could come together to form a diverse and successful community.

He added: “The Evening Star is proud to be part of the community of Ipswich for the last 126 years, during which time there have been many changes.

“The success of this event shows how the people of the town can bring their different heritages together to create a superb event and the Star is delighted to be associated with that.”

n What did you think of the multicultural festival? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk