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Biggest Dartford Festival of Light to date helps bring community together

PUBLISHED: 11:02 28 October 2015 | UPDATED: 11:02 28 October 2015

Mayor of Dartford Ian Armitt and his wife Lynne. Photo: Cohesion Plus

Mayor of Dartford Ian Armitt and his wife Lynne. Photo: Cohesion Plus

Archant

Thousands hit the streets on Friday for the annual festival, which culminated this year with a fireworks display

The Festival of Light lit up the centre of Dartford on Friday night with thousands pouring on to the streets to join in the fun - and enjoy a big fireworks display as a dramatic finale.

The seventh annual event saw lanterns, young people, music and creative arts come together for an event which became a feast of the senses.

Arranged by leading arts organisation Cohesion Plus and the Kent Equality Cohesion Council in partnership with Dartford Borough Council and with the support of Arts Council England, this year’s festival was the biggest to date.

The aim of the festival was to bring together communities in the town through the arts and promote the key values of respect, excellence, friendship and equality.

In the build up to the event Same Sky, the largest community arts charity in the south east which specialises in projects large and small, had been commissioned to work with 11 local schools to create colorful lanterns which the young people showcased on the evening.

The lantern parade - led by the mayor of Dartford Ian Armitt, council leader Jeremy Kite and Gareth Johnson MP - started on the High Street before proceeding via Hythe Street, the Orchard Shopping Centre and Market Street to Central Park.

The parade which involved some 500 young people with lanterns also featured the Four by Four Dhol drummers, Crocodile Brass and stilt walkers, much to the delight of the crowd who cheered them on their way.

Once the colorful spectacle reached Central Park there was a programme of entertainment which was hosted by comedy duo Payne and Pearce which featured performances of samba, bhangra and brass.

This was followed by presentations to local schools to commemorate their participation.

The festival climaxed with a spectacular fireworks display which was enjoyed by the large crowd which had gathered in Central Park.

Gurvinder Sandher, the artistic director of Cohesion Plus, who co-ordinated the event, was delighted. He said: “I was overwhelmed by the positive support we received for the festival and the excellent feedback from members of the public.

“The whole ethos of the festival was to bring communities together and celebrate what binds us together as a community and I believe this was achieved.”

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