Despite the weather Dartford Town Centre played host to two days of celebrations to mark Saint George’s Day with a dragon, stilt walkers, musicians and St George himself making an appearance. The aim of the festivities were to celebrate diverse England in the context of 2023, bringing communities together as well as educating young people about Saint George the patron Saint of England.
Friday 21st April saw Dartford Town Centre brought to a standstill when the school and community parade to mark Saint George’s Day took place. A record 10 Schools and 600 children took part in the parade alongside Civic and community guests including the Deputy Mayor of Dartford Cllr Rosanna Currans and Deputy Lieutenant of Kent Kelvin Holford.
The celebrations were produced by Cohesion Plus in partnership with Dartford Borough Council, Kent Equality Cohesion Council, Same Sky and supported by Arts Council England.
The school and community parade on Friday which went through Dartford Town Centre before climaxing in Central Park proved to be very popular. The parade featured an array of performers including DDFK Brass Band, Kings of Dhol, Premier Brass Band, stilt walkers, Kits Coty Morris Dancers a musical Victorian Pram and a roaming giant dragon who were all led by North Kent resident Russell Palmer in full Saint George costume.
The parade went through the town centre before finishing in Central Park where the national anthem was sung and the flag of Saint George was waved with pride by the children and the members of the public in attendance.
Further celebrations took place on Saturday in the town centre which saw an array of performers including Premier Brass Band, Saint George and the Dragon, street performers as well as a live DJ who played English themed pop songs throughout the day.
Gurvinder Sandher MBE DL the Artistic Director of Cohesion Plus who produced the celebrations commented “Despite the challenges of the weather we were really proud of what we were able to deliver in Dartford with 2 days of wonderful entertainment which brought together the diverse communities of the borough to celebrate Saint George’s Day. For me it is vital we use events like Saint George’s Day to bring communities together, to create shared experiences and celebrate what unites us rather than divides us.”
Sarah Martin, Chief Officer and Director of Corporate Services at Dartford Borough Council, said: ““Dartford Borough Council is proud to continue to support such an important event in our annual calendar. It’s a wonderful sight to see the parade set off from the Civic Centre through the town centre, and we know how much local people enjoying seeing it every year.
“Providing two days of activity seemed only fitting and we’re grateful to everyone who made this possible. Well done everyone involved.”