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. These were the first in person celebrations since 2019. The aim of the festivities were to celebrate diverse England in the context of 2022, bringing communities together as well as educating young people about Saint George the patron Saint of England.
Friday 22nd April saw Dartford Town Centre brought to a standstill when the school and community parade to mark Saint George’s Day took place. 8 Schools and 450 children took part in the parade alongside Civic and community guests including the Leader of Dartford Borough Council Cllr Jeremey Kite, Gareth Johnson MP and Deputy Lord Lieutenant Martin Henwood.
The celebrations were organised by Cohesion Plus in partnership with Dartford Borough 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 featured an array of performers including DDFK Brass Band, Four by Four Kings of Dhol, Big Fish Folk Band, stilt walkers, and the Festive Road 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 after raising the flag of Saint George in Memorial Garden. Once in Central Park the children also took the opportunity to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s 96th birthday by singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to her.
Further celebrations took place on Saturday in the Market which were attended by the Mayor of Dartford Cllr Rosanna Currans and saw an array of performers including Premier Brass Band, Baja Beats UK and street performers as well as a live DJ who played English themed pop songs throughout the day.
Gurvinder Sandher the Artistic Director of Cohesion Plus who produced the celebrations commented “The Saint George’s Day celebrations in Dartford are one of the highlights of our year and this year we were able to produce events over 2 days working with our partners Dartford Borough Council. I feel it is vital that we use events like Saint George’s Day to bring communities together and celebrate together all that unites us rather than divides us making special memories for years to come. I have said before and I will say again, other parts of the Country can learn from our collective community approach to Saint George’s Day here in Kent.”
Leader of the Council, Cllr Jeremy Kite MBE said “We pride ourselves on being one of the Saint Georgiest Towns in the Country and we are delighted that this year we are back in the Town Centre. After a difficult couple of years everyone needs a lift and it was great seeing the community come together to celebrate.”