Polish family fun day
First Polish Family Fun Day “A Great Success”
The cloistered green sports fields of St Mary’s Independent School – set in 17 acres in the heart of Bitterne, Southampton – generally ring to quite specific sounds during the Summer months. The idle chatter of Year 11 students relaxing between exams or, more often, the ring of leather on willow as the school’s cricket teams fulfil their league fixtures in hazy sunshine. On Sunday 26th June, however, the sheltered greenery reverberated to some decidedly new sounds as the school hosted the first annual Polish Family Fun Day in its grounds, run by local Marketing Company ‘GottaBe’.
Around 1000 members of Southampton’s vibrant Polish community, and community friends, descended the steps to the bowl-like field and enjoyed a beautifully sunny summer’s day of food, music, fair-rides, stalls and socialising. The day was officially opened by the Mayor of Southampton, Cllr Lee Harris, who was impressed with the event.
The event was designed by Tom Dyl, Director of GottaBe, and John Stoffel, Gottabe’s Business Development Manager, to showcase their marketing abilities and to give the Polish community the chance to celebrate their culture together. The police, ambulance and fire services were on site to meet and talk to the local community and children had a wonderful time taking turns to sit in the emergency vehicles and talk with the staff. Children were also entertained by bouncy castles, parachute games and dancing, whilst adults enjoyed the music from talented local musicians Daniel Eagle, Steve Simkins and Jenni Munday. There was even a mini grand piano (altered to be electronic) on stage at one point!
Kasia Rain – star of ‘Next Top Model’ – helped everyone burn off their Polish bakery treats with a 45 minute aerobics and yoga session. Both adults and children joined her and gave all the movements and yoga positions their best attempt. Everyone was definitely ready to head towards the barbecue afterwards to enjoy traditional meat dishes with lots of Polish pickles too. With many families bringing picnic blankets the whole event felt like a very warm and friendly festival as their children ran freely around the large field, dancing and laughing.
The day was completed by the main attraction, Martin Fitch, who has reached the finals of the Polish Pop-Idol (‘Idola’) and represented Poland in the Eurovision Song Contest. His songs were greeted with much enthusiasm from the audience who danced around our massive field in a conger line to one of the more popular songs; it was quite a sight to behold!
The day was deemed a ‘great success’ by Mrs Thom, Deputy Head-Teacher at the school. ‘It was wonderful to see our lovely grounds enjoyed by so many visitors. As a school we felt it was important for the Polish community to celebrate their culture together and holding a family friendly event like this is a great way to bring the community together. It was great to see so many of our neighbours and past students and parents coming to visit us too. We are already in talks with GottaBe and planning for next year’s event.’