A family-friendly festival described as a “party like no other” will celebrate a town’s melting pot of cultures when it bursts into life later this year.

The One Big Multicultural Festival, which is free to attend, will take place in Alexandra Park, in Ipswich, on Sunday, 1 September.

The celebration will feature music and dance, reflecting the county’s Bangladeshi, Indian, Polish, Chinese, African, Caribbean and Kurdish communities.

Organised by the award-winning Bangladeshi Support Centre, there will also be children’s entertainment and tongue-tingling food from different countries.

The more sporty of event-goers will even be able to channel their inner competitor and play Kabaddi – the team game which originated in ancient India.

During a special launch event, Mojlum Khan, from the Bangladeshi Support Centre, spoke of the importance of celebrating diversity, which he said the UK had a history of.

"We haven’t got a choice - either we do that or we bury our heads in the sand and assume the communities are not as diverse as they are," he said.

"Ipswich has the potential to be a role model for most of the East of England, if not the rest of the country.

“It is in our interest to hand over Ipswich in a far better condition than we found it; sometimes you have to be visionaries and see things 20 years ahead and ask how you want society to be."

Shayra Begum is the joint centre manager at the Bangladeshi Support Centre and the main co-ordinator of this year’s festival, which will run 12:00-18:00 BST.

"Cultures bring richness and colour to a community and without that it would be very bland – it brings diversity to our lives and opens us up," she said.

"If we can have some empathy and help [people from different cultures] integrate with us, that will go a long, long way to making us better human beings.

"It is really important we show the best side of what the different cultures can bring, like music, dance, sport, food - which unite us all."

Sandy Martin, former Labour MP for Ipswich and still a Suffolk county councillor for Rushmere, said it was "really important everyone works together for a better Ipswich and a better Suffolk".

"That is what the festival is all about. It has been running for many years now and I think it has made for a better Ipswich," he said.

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2024-07-10T07:12:47Z dg43tfdfdgfd