Arundel Festival gets off to a flying start

Arundel Festival Launch Day Picture by Liz Pearce
Arundel Festival Launch Day Picture by Liz Pearce

FESTIVAL spirit swept into Arundel as the annual event got off to a flying start in bright sunshine.

The whole town was abuzz with excitement on Saturday, August 16, as crowds streamed in to enjoy the beginning of the ten-day extravaganza of music, drama, art and fun activities of all kinds.

There was entertainment taking place in every corner of the town, embracing the entire community and offering the warmest of welcomes to visitors homing in on Arundel from far and wide.

The High Street and town square were at the heart of it all, but with Tarrant Street also one of the main focuses, the street closed to traffic and lined with tables and chairs outside all the restaurants and coffee shops, making sure there was plenty of delicious food served up while festival-goers listened to live music.

From mid-morning the street entertainers provided plenty of fun as they roamed the streets, always happy to pose for photos and ‘selfies’.

There were gasps of amazement at the incredible legerdemain of marvellous magicians and the stunning display by Circus Fantasia, as well as plenty of laughter as a clown on stilts was pursued by a pretty girl in striped leggings and ballet dancer’s tutu.

Many people took the opportunity to inscribe a message on Sophie Methuen-Turner when she strolled around as ‘Alice’, dressed in white from head to toe and inviting everyone to ‘Write on Me’.

The Gallery Trail again proved enormously popular with locals and visitors alike, local artists showing off the very best of their work of all kinds in galleries and homes all over Arundel.

Smiling faces everywhere was the order of the day as the crowds assembled in the centre of the town to listen to songs from Inchoir, a large group from all over Sussex who sang their hearts out in favourites old and new.

The opening parade in early afternoon will go down as one of the best ever. The talented musicians of the Kempenzonen Brass Band and Drum Team from Belgium did a fantastic job of drumming up enthusiasm as they marched down the High Street, led by town crier Angela Standing.

The festival flag was raised to cheers at 3pm and the band then gave a concert in the town square, delighting everyone with their playing.

“The festival is a great part of our community,” said Arundel mayor Michael Tu after the flag-raising ceremony. “Once again we’re off for another ten days of fun.

“Arundel is renowned for its community spirt and the festival is the biggest part of it. We are so lucky to have events like this and Arundel by Candlelight. I hope everyone enjoys every day of the festival we’re so proud of.”

On Sunday much of the action took place in Jubilee Gardens where people of all ages painted poppies on a backdrop ready for the evening performance by the ‘pop-up choir’ in the Come and Sing Day organised by Arundel Museum.

The museum’s Walking Through History walks proved popular on both Saturday and Sunday and there are more walks on different themes to come throughout the festival.