Harden Children’s Gala Society was formed following a public meeting in December 1973. Its aim was to provide an annual gala at as low a cost as possible for the children of Harden and Ryecroft and the neighbouring districts. It was to continue a tradition begun by the Harden Women’s Institute some three years earlier.
The Society’s first gala was held in June 1974.The Gala Queen and her two attendants were chosen at a disco from children resident in Harden and Ryecroft. They were selected by means of a lucky draw, giving every child an equal chance to be Queen or attendant. This system continues to this day and the delighted reaction of those chosen never diminishes.
The Gala begins with a parade led by a marching New Orleans style jazz band and is followed by decorated bikes and prams, floats, children in fancy dress as well as the Gala Queen and her attendants on vintage transport. The parade makes its way to the park where the Gala is opened by the Gala Queen at 2 pm.
There are many attractions on the field, including games (and some new ones will be added this year), a miniature steam train, a roundabout and bouncy castles and slide, as well as two free magic shows. For those who would like to just sit and enjoy the sunshine (hopefully anyway!), there is a very popular tea tent, selling tea, coffee, sandwiches and cakes. We also have an ice cream stall as well as a stall selling pop and crisps. There is also a tombola and raffle available, as well as many local organisations with their own stalls, including the W.I., School PTFA and Preschool.
Children can also participate in the races that are held during the middle of the afternoon. All they need to do to enter is turn up at the start line. Races start at 3.10pm approx. Medals are given out to the first three in each event, but everyone who takes part gets a sweet!
What you perhaps don't know...
Many of you will be surprised to learn that our activities are not just confined to one event a year. In addition to the Gala itself, the committee also organise a children’s Christmas disco and the Gala Queen disco at which the queen and her attendants are chosen in a draw. Both these events are advertised through Harden Primary School and in local shops and tickets are normally available through school or at Harden Post Office. Any children between the ages of 4 and 13 are welcome to attend these discos.
We also provide the Christmas tree by the war memorial. This is usually put up and decorated by committee members – generally the men - to co-ordinate with the switching on of the Christmas lights provided by the Parish Council & the carol singing around the tree on the Sunday evening.
If you would like to find out more, or even get involved with the Gala Committee, please get in touch with us. However, if you do not want to join a committee we are always very grateful for help in many other ways, be it helping out on Gala day and giving an hour of your time to help staff a stall or you might want to consider baking a cake for the tea tent or donating a prize for the tombola. Help, in any variety, would be gratefully received.
If you would like to know more or get involved, please phone Solna Burnham on 01535 273120 or Jackie Smith on 01535 958742. Alternatively email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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