Dancers are set to light up Horsham town centre this weekend for a quintessentially English celebration.
The weekend of fun kicks off with the ever-popular Broadwood Morris Day of Dance today (Saturday May 7), the first day of the Horsham English Festival.
The 24th Day of Dance promises to offer colour, music and, of course, dance - with about 25 groups taking part.
Beginning with a procession at 10.30am, the dancers will then perform a variety of traditions including Cotswold Morris, Step Clogging, Border Morris, Appalachian Clogging and North West Morris.
At 3pm the day transforms into an ‘anyone can join in’ open air barn dance at the bandstand, to which everyone is invited.
Dick Streeter, a long term member of the Broadwood Morris Men, said: “The Day of Dance was originally intended to be a one off event to celebrate the 21st anniversary of The Broadwood Morris Men and also to make good use of the newly pedestrianised town centre.
”The dance teams, expected to be around ten, turned out to be more like 20 and the day was so popular that they all wanted to come back the following year. Ever since then this is now a regular annual event in the town centre which one year attracted nearly 40 guest teams.”
The Carfax’s market traders have also been invited to theme their stalls in keeping with the event and for the first time a group of Classic Morris Cars have been invited to display on the Forum.
And a whole host of activities are planned for tomorrow (Sunday May 8) - when temperatures are expected to soar.
At the heart of the day, Horsham Folk Club and friends will be presenting a concert on the bandstand with performers including Julie Roberts, Mike & Reina Reinstein, Okee Dokee, Vocal Fusion and David Toye plus local members of Horsham Rock Choir. The concert will take place between 10.45am and 3.15pm.
Visitors will also be treated to the Horsham Traction Company’s steam engines, King Henry the Eighth and his Tudor Court, a Loxwood Knight, the Rotary Great Horsham Bake Off, race winning bikes from Dresda Motorcycles plus classic cars from Arun Motors and traditional fairground activities.
Locally produced food and drink will also follow a traditional theme led by the local Age UK’s Tea and Cake marquee, a hog roast and hot roast beef from Pig and Jacket and Garlic Wood Farm respectively, Loxwood Mead and Hepworth’s Real Ales and a shellfish and eels stall from Pitcairn & Sons.
Ice creams will be available from local shops Candy Box and Paninos and face painting will be provided by Busydays.
Dick Streeter of Horsham Folk Club said: “The concert is free and is planned to be fun, entertaining and varied, with a range of music from rock to folk with some blues and jazz in between.
“We are particularly pleased to have the rock choir and Vocal Fusion as well as notable local musicians so there will be something for everyone.”
Director of the local branch of the Samaritans Roger Dugdale added: “The Samaritans of Horsham and Crawley are there for anyone at any time. Problems have a way of piling up and without someone to talk to it can be lonely and stressful. We want to help people if they feeling emotionally distressed.”
The Carfax will be closed to traffic between 7am and 7pm each day.
Metrobus has advised passengers to use the bus station between these times. Buses will be diverted via Albion Way in both directions.
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