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Sparks to fly as county marks Olympics
IT’S our county’s contribution to the celebration of the biggest sporting event in the world – so bring on the Games!
The Incredible Glass Bead Game is the central theme to the Sparks Will Fly festival which is taking place all over Essex from May 18 to July 6 to celebrate the Olympics.
Events production company, Walk the Plank, along with Essex County Council, is leading the project, which will involve two giant characters, Marina Mightier and Boreas Zephyr, who will travel around the county picking up glass beads.
Working with local artists and community groups, a bead has been created in each location which will contain something unique to the area.
When the character picks it up, there will also be a special event to mark the occasion.
In some cases Sparks Will Fly has taken on board existing events such as Harwich’s Tour de Tendring; the Castle Point Show, on Canvey, and Wild Woods Day in Hockley.
Marina and Boreas will also be adding a dramatic touch to the annual carnival processions that take place in Southend and Colchester.
In other places, specific events have been organised to mark their character’s arrival.
In Braintree town centre there will be a procession leaving from Manor Street car park at 11.30am, while Maldon’s Promenade Park will see a family fun day with performances by the Big Sing Community Choir and the Maldon Youth Orchestra.
At Basildon’s Sporting Village, in Cranes Farm Road, they are organising a Playing Your Part Festival where sport and cultural activities will combine to celebrate the forthcoming Olympics.
Jeremy Lucas, Essex County Council’s councillor responsible for environment and culture, says: “As a host county, Sparks Will Fly will be one of the biggest events ever seen in Essex and will play an important role in the county’s contribution to the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, as well as showcase the artistic talent we have in Essex.”
It all kicks off on May 18 when Marina will arrive in Harwich by boat, stepping ashore at the Ha’Penny Pier, before being welcomed by 200 schoolchildren who will lead her through the town to the Green.
Boreas arrives in the county on May 20 at Stansted Airport, with a full ceremonial welcome similar to the ones heads of state would usually receive.
After their separate trips around Essex, Marina and Boreas will meet for the first, and last, time at the Sparks Will Fly finale at Hylands Park, Chelmsford, which will tie in with the arrival of the Olympic Torch Relay in the city.
The day starts at 3.30pm and will consist of a Torch Relay live show, a Feast, Drink and Play event, that includes the best produce the county has to offer, as well as live music and arts performances and the final of the characters’ bead game.
That day begins with the Red Devils Parachute Display Team who will descend on Hylands Park to deliver the final glass bead before pyrotechnics, special effects and a carnival atmosphere round off the day, and the Sparks Will Fly Festival itself. For more information on the project, go on-line at sparkswillfly.org.uk
Diary of events
May 18 – Ha’Penny Pier, Harwich
May 20 – Tour de Tendring, Harwich
May 24 – Basildon Sporting Village
June 2 – Wild Woods Day, Hockley Woods
June 3 – T-Fest, Grays Beach Riverside Park
June 9 – Braintree Town Centre
June 16 – Promenade Park, Maldon
June 17 – Castle Point Show, Waterside Farm Showground, Canvey
June 23 – Southend Carnival
June 30 – Colchester Carnival
July 1 – Brentwood’s Gone Global, Brentwood Centre Field
July 6 – Sparks Will Fly Finale, Hylands Park, Chelmsford.
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