Tuesday, 10 May 2011
Brighton Festival Children's Parade
On Saturday morning I set off from home with two excited kids to join thousands of families massing in the city centre for the annual Brighton Festival children’s parade.
I’m not sure how many schools took part this year – definitely lots. Our school was allocated spot number 66 and there plenty queuing behind us as we got into our starting position.
I love the children’s parade! It’s so totally Brighton: bright, loud, creative and whimsically fun.
All the same, past experience led me to wonder how smoothly everything would run in 2011. How long would we wait penned into our allocated starting street before the actual walking begins? Would we be sheltering from rain, shivering from icy wind or melting under a blazing sun? How many bits of the children’s costumes would disintegrate by the time we reached the seafront? How far would the youngest walk before asking “are we nearly there yet?” in a loud rebellious voice?
To my relief, everything was very well managed by organisers SameSky. We set off before boredom kicked in, the weather was kind (warm with fresh breezes) and the happy mood of the marchers boosted even the smallest walkers to keep plodding to the seafront.
My son was chosen to be part of our school’s Samba band for the first time and proudly bashed out his much practised drum rhythms. My daughter was equally noisy, although less co-ordinated, thanks to a tin whistle. We handed out leaflets for a community funday, the Deans Festival, as we meandered through the streets. All the school children wanted to help and vied to distribute as many leaflets as possible, dashing from parade to pavement trying to outdo their friends. My youngest proudly hand delivered a leaflet to The Mayor!
The only downside of taking part in this fantastic event is I only saw a few of the fabulous creations adorning other groups. Being stuck at number 66 means I have little idea what numbers 1 to 60 or 70+ had to offer in this year’s theme of Children’s Rights. Our school’s topic was recycling and we proudly wore our home-made outfits of cobbled together old rubbish!
Our ragtaggle team was led by the school’s Samba musicians and a giant puppet made of old binbags. Elsewhere in the parade we caught glimpses of an enormous water tap, bumble bees and a dalek.
When we reached the seafront, tired and happy, we saw more of the arty costumes being guarded by their creators as they waited for transport home. My favourite was a totally amazing purple dragon – only in Brighton!