It’s been 10 years since PBIC organised the first Children’s day event in Bedford. 10 years ago not many people in the UK knew about the International Children’s Day.
However, children from Poland started to enquire about the day and question why it was not celebrated in Bedford.
With this in mind the first ever Bedford children’s day event took place at St John Rigby lower school with around 60 in attendance. “Grandparent’ songs from their childhood” were part of the main repertoire sung by our newly established Polish singing and dance group ‘Promethidion’ (who at this point had no national costumes to dance in). The main raffle prize in the first year was a vegetable hamper from Parripak Foods and the first ever children’s day collection for the Orphanage in Czestochowa raised just under £50.
A year later, the event was moved to Christ Church Hall. It was during this event that we collected nearly 100 surveys which informed of the kind of services and support Poles most needed in Bedford.
Promethidion had their first performance in their Cracow costumes, which were part funded by Barnfield College! It was also the first time Bedford Police attended the event. Mrs Grazyna Marszalek proposed to move future Children’s days to the Polish Club in Aleksandra Road.
In 2009 & 2010 Children’s Day in Bedford took place in the parking space at the rear of the Polish Club on Aleksandra Road. Hundreds of people took part. Regular guests included both the Bedfordshire Police and the local Fire Services. At the time, young people (in particular Tomasz Kulaga) organised football tournaments which later became a Children’s Day tradition. It was also in 2009 that the idea was born to combine Children’s day with Polish Mother’s day. Andrzej Gasiennica gave an unforgettable performance of “A Letter to Mum”. In addition, there were modern dance performances choreographed by Wojciech Bojko. There were also memorable speeches by Tomasz Marszalek’s as well as Teresa Ciolko’s delicious cakes. Face painting and bouncy castles also joined the list of attractions, at times the face painting queues were so long we stayed even after the end of the event to complete!
In 2011, PBIC moved the event to their new venue at The Place Theatre. This decision was informed by the possibility of utilising the theatre for performances and the spacious field behind the building provided by River Side Tennis who also allowed us the use of their courts. The repertoire also saw a new addition – performances from John Paul II’s Polish School in Bedford which was established in 2010. Mr Bananaman also turned out to be very popular.
In 2012 one of the parent’s had an idea for a new attraction – rabbits! This event also saw a film crew record a short movie which can still be watched in the Social History part of Bedford Museum.
In 2013 Petzotix joined the event, you could come and see wild animals such as spiders, snakes and lizards. The football tournaments were taken over by White Eagles football team. Children now had the opportunity of playing matches inside an inflatable football pitch.
Promethidion acted out the Turnip play by Brzechwa, and mums decided to perform their own piece for children (Leń). Magic Dave was also present and apart from showing magic tricks, he gave the opportunity to learn them as well. John Paul II’s Polish school continued the tradition of roses for Mother’s Day. Daniel Guz visited this event and shared his thoughts and plans for the future.
Best Pol promoted their products by providing each child a goodie bag filled with delicious treats !
2014: The newly created Polish School PLCA and Eliasz the mime artist joined the list of performances
In 2015 International Children’s day had over 700 attendees. The idea of moving the event to a larger venue was born. It was at this point that Lukasz Goluch from ‘Goluch Events’ got involved.
In 2016, PBIC in partnership with Goluch events launched International Children’s Day at Russel Park. The event reached a completely different level and individuals attending were in the thousands! The collection for the Orphanage in Czestochowa reached over £420. The event received support from The Polish Embassy, Kasztelan provided goodie bags for children and raffle prizes were given by Polish Village Bread and Profit Tree. “Give your child their Native language” was an initiative which was promoted during the event and Run to Fun, Zaklikow and Brass Band from Stalowa Wola provided unforgettable entertainment.
Therefore, what can we expect from this year? Polish Embassy Continues to support our event which means we will have a proper stage and sound equipment in place. A song and dance group Juzyna who have flown in from Zawoja Poland, a talent show, Polish School performances, Promethidion, modern dances and much much more ….
This year we join forces with Bradley Gumble who will be providing bouncy castle, slides, trains and amusements for the children’s enjoyment. All sponsors of these attractions will be named as the list is finalised.
Thinking of children three important awareness themes are part of this years event: Give your child your native language, Become a foster parent and Anti hate awareness run together with Beds Police.
Children are our future and by supporting their integration through International Children’s Day Bedford will remain a leader in positive integration and diversity.
Come and join us on the 4th June!
WATCH A VIDEO FROM THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF CHILDREN’S DAY HERE: