Swindon’s traditional Children’s Fete is seeking stallholders for its special 150th Anniversary event!

Swindon’s traditional Children’s Fete is on track to celebrate its 150th Anniversary on Saturday 9th July in the GWR Park on Faringdon Road.

The event also coincides with the 175th Anniversary of ‘New Swindon’ (when the GWR came to town), making it a fantastic year for our town.

The organisers are seeking more stallholders and performers for the event and are offering free stalls to any groups who are able to contribute to the event through a performance or by providing an activity for children on the day. They are also offering reduced price stalls for local charities who may wish to share information or fundraise on the day and they are particularly keen to attract organisations who are working with and providing support to children, young people and their families in Swindon.

Although the event is primarily focused around families, children and young people the event is aimed at all ages and generations. “It really is a town-wide event which seeks to provide entertainment for everyone. We want to celebrate our heritage but also our town today – its current day culture and community. There’s so much great stuff happening in the town, we really want to pull it all together and just show it off a bit”, says Hannah, one of the event’s organisers.

“We’re working hard to involve as many groups in the event as possible. We’re currently working with Swindon Dance and Prime Theatre to produce a special performance which will tell the story of the first workers who came here from across the country, bringing their various skills, to work on the railways and start the beginning of the town we know today.”

The event, which first began in 1866 and is Swindon’s oldest community event, was established by the first generation of Great Western Railway workers. The original event ran right up until the Second World War, but was resurrected by the Mechanics’ Institution Trust in 2003. “We’ve managed to hold the event almost every year since, to varying scales, with a few years missed due to lack of funding. The last time we had a grant from the Lottery to hold the event was in 2012, when we had 7,000 Swindonians attend on the most glorious of summer days. With this being the anniversary, we’re expecting to attract crowds of up to 10,000 this year.”

As well as the performances on the main stage there will also be a second stage, for smaller groups or schools who want to perform, and Swindon Shuffle (the town’s original music festival which takes place every June) will be running a live music stage through the day and into the evening.

Many other groups are involved including Falding’s Fandangos, Artsite and Lower Shaw Farm. “We want the event to represent Swindon’s community in the widest sense possible and we’re open to all sorts of ideas of how people might like to be involved.”

The Trust are also looking for people who might like to get involved in other ways to help make the event happen. “We also need people to help out on the day, in roles such as stewards and bar staff”.

The daytime event, which will start at 12pm, will be filled with performances, arts and sports activities, circus workshops, face-painting, funfairs and other fun. Cake will be offered out to the children at 4pm, which is one of the elements of the historical event the Trust have managed to keep every year, and then there will be a main performance at 4.30pm.

The evening part of the event will be geared around live music and some more circus entertainment, with finale of fireworks display just after 10pm. Stallholders will only be asked to stay until 5pm.

It you would like to get involved in the event, or would like to sponsor an element of it, please contact the organisers by emailing thechildrensfete@mechanics-trust.org.uk or telephoning 01793 520592.

Children's Fete Flyer

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