THOUSANDS of people are soaking up the sunshine at this year’s Family Festival at Meyrick Park in Bournemouth today.
To mark the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War, this year’s festival is based on the town’s tradition Children’s Festival which was last held in 2014 before the start of the war.
Led by the Bournemouth Youth Marching Band, hundreds of youngsters took part in the children’s parade which set-off from Pier Approach and passed through the town centre this morning.
When the parade reached the town hall the children were joined by the mayor of Bournemouth, Cllr Chris Mayne, who waved at the crowds from his horse drawn carriage.
Opening the ceremony Cllr Mayne praised the organisers and urged everyone to enjoy the day before performing tradition war songs with three other councillors.
He said: “Today of course is particularly about the children of the town.
“100 years ago today I understand there would have been a lot more children here but there is a good turn-out today.”
Children who took part in the parade were presented with peace medals by the mayor, Lord Lieutenant of Dorset Angus Campbell, and Bournemouth councillors.
Daisy Dixon Amphlett, aged 8, said her favourite part was walking through the town.
She said: “The best bit was being in the parade and getting my medal.”
Her mum Maria Dixon said: “It’s a great atmosphere. It’s family orientated but with lots of excitement.”
A range of activities and entertainment will be at the festival throughout the day including more than 170 stalls, live performances from singers, bands and dancers and bouncy castles.
The original Children’s festival was organised by the founder of Beale’s department store and former mayor of Bournemouth John Elmes Beale in the late 1800s.