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Party for the world
DIFFERENT cultures from across the globe were celebrated as Basingstoke held its inaugural World Party in the Park.
Leading craft and design charity The Making joined forces with Basingstoke Multicultural Forum to put on the colourful and spectacular event in Eastrop Park last Saturday.
From Caribbean cuisine to Polish paper birds, visitors were treated to a feast of activities, arts and entertainment.
Among the other countries and cultures being represented were dancers from Nepal, Africa and the Philippines.
Youngsters at borough schools took part in a children’s parade with musicians and dancers from Basingstoke Academy of Dancing. Participants helped to make their own costumes and were involved in a colourful procession across the park, to the delight of crowds.
Parents queued to get their children into The Making’s craft tent, where youngsters were taught to make Venetian masks, Asian kites and Japanese Raku pots.
Also hopping around the site were Bruno and Ted, kangaroos from Sydney, Australia. The performing arts duo, real names Jesse Horne and Paul Jones, proved a big hit with visitors.
Jenny Bethell, business and events manager at The Making, told The Gazette that the party – which was supported by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Hampshire County Council, and which received grant funding from the Big Lottery and Sovereign Kingfisher Housing Association – had surpassed expectations.
“We knew there was a need for this kind of event in Basingstoke,” said Jenny. “This shows what can happen by working in partnership.
“The schools have done extremely well and the children all looked amazing. We are grateful for everyone who came along to take part.”
The Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, Councillor David Leeks, attended the event with dignitaries from Basingstoke's twin town Euskirchen, in Germany, who were visiting Basingstoke as part of the 25th anniversary of the bond formed between the two towns.
Cllr Leeks said the world party was a “wonderful” display of the different cultures in the borough.
He added: “This is a great showcase for the many different cultures we have here in Basingstoke and Deane. It is a wonderful event.”
Bosses at The Making have confirmed the event will return next year, and organisers are actively seeking sponsors to help fund it.
The world party is the launch-pad for a three-year audience development programme, which will start in 2012. This will put professional artists, performers and community representatives in schools throughout Basingstoke and north Hampshire.
In the weeks leading up to the July 2 event, The Making team ran workshops in 17 local primary schools to create celebratory costumes, masks and performances.