MADhurst carnival parade is biggest yet

It was bigger than ever before as the MADhurst carnival parade set off from the Grange car park on bank holiday Monday and the skies responded as the Harry Strutters Jazz Band blasted out Give Me Sunshine.

They were following town crier John Travers, in full regalia at the front of the parade, and taking pride of place as the first walking float were overseas volunteers Concordia and their ‘big make’, the giant colourful MADhurst octopus.

MADhurst procession. Picture by Kate Shemilt

MADhurst procession. Picture by Kate Shemilt

It was designed by ‘big make’ consultant Brian Allen and the group was led by MADhurst committee member Alison Procter.

“We chose the octopus just because we thought it would be fun to lead the procession with something interactive and engage with the crowd with the bubbles and our water pistols,” said Alison.

Attended by more than 2,000 visitors, complete with fun-fair, games, stalls, delicious local food and the ever-wonderful concert, it was a special day for one youngster who took part in the carnival parade.

Dara Way-Young, who attends Easebourne Primary School, had her name picked out in a draw to win the honour of switching on the Christmas lights at Midhurst Town Council’s festive street party later this year.

MADhurst organisers thanked the Midhurst Sports Association for providing the tea-tent and the bar at the Grand Finale and Midhurst Parish Church for its usual terrific teas with home-made goodies.

Sadly, the ground was too soft on the sports ground for the Midhurst School of Dance, although they were able to perform to family and friends in the Grange.

The Paws and Harmony Dog Show had no such problems, with many lovely pooches strutting their stuff.

Tricky Nicky performed to gales of kiddy laughter in the Marquee, Bootworks Theatre entertained with their wicked juke-box impersonations, and there was afternoon music and performance by Musical Mayhem, the Rother Valley District Girl Guides, the Wonder Girls Pom-pom Troupe, Midhurst Community Choir and Rylee Spooner.

The much-loved summer evening concert, against the backdrop of Cowdray Ruins, featured Da Beez Neez, the Ed Goodale Band, and Gabriella Groves and Vivo.

They gave us all a chance to chill, picnic and dance with family and friends.

Midhurst Rugby Club members turned out in force for the parade and the Cowdray Estate made a welcome return in the line-up illustrating ‘100 years in Midhurst’ in line with the theme of this year’s carnival procession.

A group of under 11s, under the watchful eye of Judy Fowler and Jeanette Sutton, took their place in the carnival handing out flags to the crowds who lined the streets for the annual parade – which highlights the grand finale day of the ten-day music, arts and drama festival.

There was more music from Sussex Steel, Midhurst Musical Mayhem and the Burgess Hill Marching Youth.

Others on the march included the Wondergirls, South Pond Group, Royal British Legion, Rother Valley Guides, Rother Valley Together, Rotherfield Motors, the community bus and Tandem.

The Rev David Coote, who organises the carnival parade for Midhurst Town Council, said: “It went very well. It was bigger than ever and there was fantastic support both from the crowds who turned out to watch and from those who took part in the parade.”

The final events of the music, arts and drama festival included a super-fun Grease Sing-along, with the audience in their 80s gear.

Ben Pryor and the Lucky Dogs brought us rock and roll and jive, while the Ian Young All-stars had the audience jumping to all the jazz and swing greats.

The weather was great for folk music at Midhurst Unplugged on Saturday afternoon, together with the Italian Market, and a display of vintage Alpha Romeos.

And it’s not all over. MADhurst is not just in August any more. On October 25 there will be a fun pop-up opera in the Memorial Hall.
Tickets by phone (01730 812 123 and 815 894) or online at www.Madhurst.co.uk.