The Words of the Murphy Family
The Watford Celebration, an annual event that celebrates the rich diversity of Watford, has proven once more to be a great success this year. We did not know how it would all turn out after the withdrawal of St Michael's Catholic High School, our main sponsor for over 3 years.
We had to make a difficult decision: either to have the event at the Multi-Cultural Community Center and St Michael and all Angels Church, a more affordable venue, or take the risk of going back to the newly refurbished Coliseum. We decided the Coliseum. The Elected Mayor of Watford, Patron of Watford Celebration, offered as she had done every year her generous support from her Community Fund.
The task of organizing the event was also daunting due to the resignation of 3 members of the committee so we took on extra responsibility. Besides designing the layout and coordinating the stalls, I became the new treasurer and helped with the coordination of the international buffet. Thanks to the united efforts and dedication of the team and the volunteers, it all went very well!
On a rainy Bank Holiday Monday 7th of May, around 3,000 people came to the Coliseum. It was buzzing all day with a steady flow of people circulating among the various stalls representing ethnic groups, faiths, communities, charities and some businesses (47 stallholders). The colorful performances on stage ranged from Sufi music to Latin American traditional dances and Sikh martial arts to a School band, Kendo demonstration and more.
Lunch time saw a line up to the food area where people could sample food from Japan, Latin America, the Caribbean, China and Poland – all organized by the Watford Chinese Association. There was face painting, storytelling, crafts and a bouncy castle to keep the children happy. A 'Sacred Space' on the mezzanine upstairs offered a place for interfaith dialogue where representatives from different faiths could discuss topics such as "Do we need God in our society today?"
The Elected Mayor of Watford and the MP went on stage acknowledging the achievement of bringing together the various ethnic and faith groups of Watford and celebrating the various talents of our town. The High Sheriff of Hertfordshire and the Deputy of the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire went around speaking with everyone.
In the middle of the afternoon, WFWP invited the public to take part in a Bridge of Peace ceremony and meet someone from another community.
People left their comments thanking the organizers for such a positive and meaningful event.