Weekend English Festival draws crowds to Horsham town centre

Horsham English Festival. 07-05-16. Pic Steve Robards  SR1612946 SUS-160905-131034001

Horsham English Festival. 07-05-16. Pic Steve Robards SR1612946 SUS-160905-131034001

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The sun came out for a colourful musical celebration of all things English in Horsham town centre this weekend.

What started life 24 years ago as a one-off event to celebrate the Broadwood Morris Men’s 21st anniversary, The English Festival has turned into a highlight of the town’s calendar. This year, for the first time, the celebrations continued into Sunday.

Horsham English Festival. 07-05-16. Pic Steve Robards  SR1612921 SUS-160905-131132001

Horsham English Festival. 07-05-16. Pic Steve Robards SR1612921 SUS-160905-131132001

It kicked off on Saturday May 7 with the annual Broadwood Morris Day of Dance featuring around 25 dance groups from across the area.

They included Cotswold Morris, Step Clogging, Border Morris, Appalachian Clogging, North West Morris.

Long term member of the Broadwood Morris Men Dick Streeter said: “It went incredibly well. It was very well supported both sides - not just by participants, but by the public as well.

“We were very pleased with the Sunday. I was listening to the radio and they said the seaside was chockablock, so it was good to see a good crowd in the town centre.”

Horsham English Festival. 07-05-16. Pic Steve Robards  SR1612923 SUS-160905-131155001

Horsham English Festival. 07-05-16. Pic Steve Robards SR1612923 SUS-160905-131155001

Another first this year was the introduction of a display of Morris Minor cars in the Forum.

Dick said: “(The festival) is very much about trying things out. The Morris people seemed to enjoy it and hopefully we can add to the day next year.

“One of the nice things is on the bandstand we have the barn dance when we have members of the public taking part. What is noticeable is that year on year there are more members of the public joining in that.

“Adding the Sunday on - we put a lot of thought into that. We had a lot of support from the council. If people know things are going to going on for the whole weekend, they are more likely to be able to come.”

Horsham English Festival. 07-05-16. Pic Steve Robards  SR1612873 SUS-160905-131109001

Horsham English Festival. 07-05-16. Pic Steve Robards SR1612873 SUS-160905-131109001

The Sunday was aimed at raising awareness of the Horsham Samaritan’s with a the focus being concert on the bandstand organised by Horsham Folk Club.

Performers included Julie Roberts, Mike & Reina Reinstein, Okee Dokee, Vocal Fusion and David Toye plus local members of Rock Choir.

Elsewhere in the town centre people enjoyed the Horsham Traction Company’s steam engines, King Henry the Eighth and his Tudor Court, a Loxwood Knight, the Rotary Great Horsham Bake Off, classic cars from Arun Motors. There were also traditional fairground activities and locally produced food and drink.