Kettering campaigners' community festival attracts hundreds in heatwave
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Scorching temperatures and burning sun didn’t put off hundreds of visitors to Rockingham Road Pleasure Park for the second Community Festival for Save Weekley Hall Wood campaign.
Musicians performed from the park’s Victorian bandstand and more than 25 stalls kept the crowd busy browsing the activities alongside traders – and with two lemonade stands and ice cream vans people were kept well hydrated.
Under the shade of the trees in the park and a forest of gazebos, the human fruit machine, whack a rat and eco glitter were among the top attractions on the Save Weekley Hall Wood stall.
Festival co-founder and Cllr Dez Dell (Green) said: “It was a truly amazing atmosphere with very chill vibes throughout the day, until the arrival of the epic Electric Chickens band – Eli,10, Danny, 12, and Keiron (much older) roused the park with their covers of Nirvana and The Stooges.
“Overall, it was a fantastic event and I want to thank fellow organiser Tom Oi and the Save Weekley Hall Wood team for making it so special. And a big shout out to Angela at All Saints Church as well.
"We are already excited for next year’s festival.”
Save Weekley Hall Wood spokesman Frankie O’Dowd said: “It proved to be an astonishingly successful event. From the vegan cakes selling out, nature pictures with the NNC grounds team, so many cheers and whoops for all the bands and poets, to the seeming use of eco glitter on every single child, it goes to prove that our community wants to build a happy cohesive future.
“Events like this, where all ages join in and happily enjoy each others’ company, show what community really means to the people of Kettering and I’m proud to be part of the Save Weekley Hall Wood team fighting for the future of our precious natural green space.”
Shire Sounds broadcast throughout the event and a variety of stalls including Northants Badger Group, North Northants Council’s grounds team led the wood crafts stall, board games from Boards of Kettering, Northants Race and Equality Council and cakes from Katkins Bakery. St Andrew’s Church, home to Kettering Arts Centre, invited visitors to tell a joke to win a prize – and hosted a dress-like-a-star selfie experience.
Strawberry teas were provided by parishioners in nearby All Saint’s Church.
Founder of the Rockingham Road Pleasure Park Community Gardeners, local resident and stall holder at the festival, Fran Sherbourne said: “I would love a cafe in the park, it would be a tremendous addition to the park for events like this. We need as many people as we can find to write emails and letters to the chief executive of the council to tell him that the community would like a cafe.”
Cllr Dell added: “It was also an important reminder that the people of Kettering care deeply about our town and its meadowland and woodland. The number of Save Weekley Hall Wood t-shirts was astonishing.
“The community came together when it mattered but I hope the festival continues in future years.”