Will you be going to this ‘drive-in’ festival in Ipswich?

PUBLISHED: 18:30 28 September 2020 | UPDATED: 13:33 29 September 2020

A 'drive-in' harvest festival will be taking place in Ipswich next month thanks to restrictions on gatherings in churches. Picture: NORTH SAMFORD BENEFICE

A 'drive-in' harvest festival will be taking place in Ipswich next month thanks to restrictions on gatherings in churches. Picture: NORTH SAMFORD BENEFICE


An Ipswich rector has come up with a new way to bring the community together for harvest festival in the light of social distancing rules.

The North Samford Benefice is holding a drive-in harvest festival on the first Sunday of October at Street Farm in Belstead.

When Reverend Annette Shannon, rector of the benefice, realised the difficulty of hosting the traditional festival inside the church, she decided to take it outdoors.

“The coronavirus pandemic has brought about many changes to the way communities can come together,” she said.

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“I was determined to find a way to lift community spirits in whatever way possible.

“Although the harvest festival will look and feel a lot different to previous events, the aim remains the same - to bring communities together.

“After putting out a plea for a location to hold the event, we are incredibly lucky to have been offered a beautiful location in Ipswich which will allow us to celebrate and come together all while abiding by the government’s guidance.”

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The Belstead event is limited to 50 cars maximum, so families are being advised to book their space quickly on Eventbrite to avoid disappointment.

The gates will open at 10am with services due to start at 11am, with a social distanced picnic for those who want to stay on afterwards.

Activity packs have been created for children including making cow masks, a model ship and a model tree.

Canon Dave Gardner, the Diocesan Director of Mission, will be speaking as a guest at the event.

Revd Shannon added: “We are incredibly fortunate to be able to hold this event and we look forward to celebrating the harvest festival with the community.”

While entry is free, attendees are recommended to donate £5 per person.

There will be donation buckets and contactless options, with all funds split between the benefice, the ministry and Families in Need – an Ipswich based charity which provides food parcels to help people through times of crisis.

The traditional harvest celebration at St Edmundsbury Cathederal is also moving to a drive-in service at Trinity Park showground.

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The rule of six doesn’t apply to places of worship and the cars will be guided to park, leaving space beside so people can abide by social distancing.

Those who attend in the same car should be from the same family or social bubble.

When booking tickets online, cars have to be registered to include information for track and trace.

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