The Friends of Priory Park and Priory Park Festival combine for ten days of birthday celebrations in the Park from September 22-30.
100 years ago this September the Park was given by the 7th Duke of Richmond and Gordon to the people of the city, for their leisure and as a perpetual memorial to the fallen in the First World War.
Both aspects will be marked in a ten-day programme, starting with a jazz and blues opening night party and with the celebrations culminating in a special drum head service.
The event has been 18 months in preparation and will also serve to underline the value of parks and green spaces within our communities. It also reconnects the city with its past.
Chairman Richard Plowman said: “Today’s relentless focus on owning the future means we are in increasing danger of detaching ourselves from the past and losing an understanding of who we are. With this in mind, a wide range of projects and activities has been developed for Priory Park 100, to help people rediscover the park’s rich heritage which extends back over 1,500 years, to record how generations of residents and visitors have made Priory Park their own, and to raise awareness of the benefits offered by this vital green space in the heart of Chichester.”
Highlights of the festival include:
Friday, September 21: Launch Party with Jazz in the Little Big Top, 6.30pm-10.30pm. Live music from 4pm.
Saturday, September 22: Opening Ceremony 11am; Art in Action 10-4pm; parachute jump 2pm; live music from 4pm.
Sunday, September 23: Sealed Knot plus drill exercises and camp activities 11am; Art in Action 10-4pm; Siege of 1642 2pm – re-enactment of the siege of Chichester with Sir Marmaduke Rawdon’s Regiment of Foote; live music from 4pm.
Monday, September 24: morning session Edwardian bowls; afternoon session Edwardian bowls.
Tuesday, September 25: Astronomy in the Park 2pm; choir 6.30pm; Astronomy in the Park Night Sky 9pm.
Wednesday, September 26: vintage hockey 2pm; The Hawkhurst Gang (play) 7pm
Thursday September 27: Rolls Royce car parade 11am; Rolls Royce car static display 11-4pm; The Hawkhurst Gang 7pm
Friday September 28: Board War Games in the Guildhall 11am; Chichester’s Biggest Teddy Bear Picnic 3:30pm; choir 7pm
Saturday September 29: celebrity cricket match 11.30am; The Hawkhurst Gang 2.30pm; The Hawkhurst Gang 7pm.
Sunday, September 30: drum head service 11.30am; carrier pigeon release 12 noon; massed choirs; unveiling of restored plaque 12.15pm; Evensong and blessing of the park 3pm.