Gallery: Thousands at Polish festival

CIRCUS tricks, dancing and delicious food attracted thousands of people to a special festival aimed at bringing communities together.

CIRCUS tricks, dancing and delicious food attracted thousands of people to a special festival aimed at bringing communities together.

The Polish picnic, part of the first Polish Arts Festival, was held in Christchurch Park, Ipswich yesterday and gave the crowds chance to sample new music, try new tastes, and look at traditional crafts.

There was a long queue while people waited to taste kebabs and sausages, while children tried circus tricks and adults enjoyed folk music.

Ros Green, director of Hungry Arts, which put on the event, said she was thrilled to see so many people coming together.

She said: “I'm quite wowed. It has surpassed all expectations.

“It has attracted people from all over and there have been Polish people coming to stay with relatives in Ipswich just for this event.

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“It is great to get this kind of atmosphere where everyone is having fun and enjoying being in each other's company. It is a bit like an old-fashioned fete where people feel in their comfort zone.

“I really believe events like this work in building good relationships between communities. If you create a positive environment positive things will come out of it.

“It doesn't change the world overnight but it does begin to change attitudes.”

Linda Shaw, 37, of Felixstowe Road, who was at the picnic, said: “I think it is a great event and I'm really surprised at how much is on offer. It is a brilliant way to celebrate other cultures and bring people together. I certainly hope they can do it again next year.”

Ms Green said she hoped too that the event would become an annual occasion, and added that although the organisers had searched they had not be able to find a record of another Polish festival in Britain, meaning Ipswich's may have been the first.

Did you enjoy the event? Are festivals a good way to bring together communities? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

n. For more pictures of the event see the picture gallery at www.eveningstar.co.uk

Poland

Poland is a European country bordering Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and Russia (Kaliningrad).

It has a population of 38.6million people.

During World War II about six million Poles lost their lives, including the vast majority of the country's large Jewish population.

It became the first of the central European countries to overthrow communist rule in 1989.

It is one of the fastest growing economies in Europe and a significant trading partner for the UK.

It became a full member of the European Union on May 1, 2004.

SOURCE: The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office