A summer of family fun in Medway as part of Medway Culture Fest 24!

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A man Black man in green dungarees performs acrobatics inside a giant hoop in front of a family crowd.

This weekend Chatham Carnival and bOing! kick off a packed summer of family fun and cultural activities for children in Medway.  This year’s carnival parade is led by Phil Gallagher from BBC’s Mister Maker and includes a giant animatronic DJ Disco Turtle, coming to Medway from Glastonbury!  Head to the highstreet for performances, demonstrations, live music and stalls as well as children’s craft activities inside the Pentagon Shopping Centre and an incredible global cuisine streetfood market brought to you by Chatham Intra’s fabulous independent restaurants.

The Chatham town centre takeover is part of Medway Culture Fest 24, a year-long cultural programme coordinated by Creative Medway in partnership with the local cultural sector, community organisations and Medway’s three universities. The festival celebrates Medway and our people, places and stories, with plenty of opportunities for children and families to explore Medway’s rich history and get hands on with creativity and culture across the area this summer as part of the festival programme.

“We are thrilled to be bringing bOing! to Medway as one of many cultural events and activities this year as part of Medway Culture Fest 24. bOing! has been delighting and enthralling families in Canterbury for 10 years now, and it’s fantastic to be able to bring all the energy and excitement of the festival to Chatham once again.”

David Sefton, Artistic Director of the bOing! Family Festival

Other programme highlights include Rochester Cathedral’s commemoration of 900 years of the Textus Roffensis, one of the most important Medieval manuscripts in Europe. Explorers of all ages are invited to get up close with a new 68ft dragon installation suspended in the Cathedral nave and explore the history of the Middle Ages through a school holiday programme of puppet shows, storytelling, craft activities and a riddle trail.

Draco Roffensis Dragon at Rochester Cathedral (📷: Spaghetti Western)

For those who fancy trying their hand at headdress making, dance classes or steelpan, Medway Culture Club invites you to celebrate the traditions of the Notting Hill Carnival and the legacy of the Windrush generation in Medway at Medway Culture Club Carnival on 3 August with a float procession, carnival dancers, DJs, live music, food and face painting.

At The Historic Dockyard Chatham a new immersive detective challenge ‘The Game Is Afoot’ offers children a chance to become Dockyard Detectives and solve a real-life crime from 1887 as well as free creative workshops each Wednesday during the summer holiday.  A new must-visit exhibition in partnership with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution celebrates the 200th anniversary of the RNLI lifesaving charity and the heroic tales of the men and women who have risked their lives to save others at sea.

“The Historic Dockyard Chatham has been an important part of the lives of Medway people and the nation for over 400 years.  This summer during the 40th anniversary year of the closure of the working dockyard and as part of Medway Culture Fest 24, we invite as many families as possible to visit us to experience climbing aboard historic warships and connecting with the stories of the past through fun, interactive activities.

This year we are offering £2.00 Universal and Pension credit day tickets for locals and a family pass giveaway to offer as many people as possible the opportunity to visit.  With exciting new children’s detective activities, free creative family workshops, the RNLI 200 anniversary exhibition and a new photography exhibition celebrating our journey over the last 40 years, there is plenty to do whether you are returning or visiting for the first time.”

Richard Morsley, Chief Executive of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust

If you are visiting from outside Medway, you can explore Medway’s many other heritage sites, castles and museums by downloading the Visit Medway tourism app or planning your visit on the Visit Medway website.  Sites running school holiday activities include The Royal Engineers Museum where you can experience life on the home front as part of their Concrete Castles exhibition this summer.

If you are local, Icon Theatre’s free Theatre Club offers children the chance to explore acting, movement, storytelling, puppetry, art and music.  Sun Pier House’s Artbank is offering free art materials for Medway families and Medway Libraries are running arts and crafts activities over the summer holidays alongside the Summer Reading Challenge.  Families can also follow clues to track down a series of fantastical creatures hidden in Medway community spaces as part of Child Friendly Medway’s Magical Creature Trail touring Medway libraries this summer.

“2024 is a significant year for Medway and there is so much for families to do and explore here this summer, from performances and dance workshops to art installations and exhibitions.  Medway Culture Fest 24 celebrates Medway’s creativity, communities and stories.  The programme showcases what a great place Medway is for a family day out, whether you are travelling from across Kent or visiting the places on your doorstep. We invite visitors and locals to explore the best Medway has to offer for families as part of the Medway Culture Fest 24 programme this summer!”

David Stokes, Vice-Chair of Creative Medway

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