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Historic beach village to be honoured as GritFest is staged

PUBLISHED: 16:05 21 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:05 21 May 2018

A Lowestoft Fishing Village resident dressed as a May Day Gritster in the 1920s. Picture: Courtesy of Dean Parkin/Jack Rose

A Lowestoft Fishing Village resident dressed as a May Day Gritster in the 1920s. Picture: Courtesy of Dean Parkin/Jack Rose

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A historic beach village will be celebrated during a special event this weekend.

Author Dean Parkin. Picture: Courtesy of the Poetry PeopleAuthor Dean Parkin. Picture: Courtesy of the Poetry People

Free family activities will take centre stage in Sparrows Nest Gardens as GritFest – a Grit Celebration Day – honours Lowestoft’s historic beach village.

The event is part of Poetry People’s year-long community-driven words, film and music project about the town’s almost forgotten fishing village, known as The Grit.

A fun-filled, free family day out will be showcased on Sunday, May 27. Running from 10.30am to 4pm, there will be a grand opening by BBC broadcaster Zeb Soanes, who hails from Lowestoft, with his News from The Grit.

A busy programme of events will also feature Dance East’s mass workshop inspired by the Scots Fisher Girls, and The Rogues Shanty Buoys and their songs of the sea. There will also be humour from Andrew Stannard’s Singing Postman, while the Seagull Strummers – Pakefield’s ukelele pluckers – will also perform before Lowestoft-born poet and writer Dean Parkin’s Nitty Gritty at 2.30pm.

Scots Girls on the pickling plots in the 1930s. Picture: Courtesy of The Grit by Jack Rose and Dean Parkin.Scots Girls on the pickling plots in the 1930s. Picture: Courtesy of The Grit by Jack Rose and Dean Parkin.

The Bandstand programme concludes with a grand finale from The Austin Beats reliving the 60’s heydays of the Dockside Dandies.

There will also be demonstrations from Waveney Valley Smokehouse on kippers and bloaters, the International Boatbuilding Training College and Excelsior Trust on the vessels that were so important to the people who lived in the fishing village. With face painting, Grit Knit and Quilt, a chance to print your own Grit postcard and see The Grit book illustrator Paula White in action, there is something for everyone.

The Studio Theatre will be screening a series of Grit TV films, with archive material and stories from Lowestoft Movie Makers and a Jack Rose tribute. These will also be talks starting with Zeb Soanes and James Mayhew on their children’s book ‘Gaspard the Fox, followed by Colin Bannister from CEFAS on The Herring, local historian Ivan Bunn on The Floods and author Dorothy Stewart on The Fisher Girls.

Lowestoft Maritime Museum, The Grit project partners, will be open all day with free entry and there is a special scavenger hunt for GritFest goers.

You can also visit the Royal Naval Patrol Service and War Memorial Museum based in the park, and sample a taste of the old beach village with a special GritFest menu from Martellos and Giardino’s.

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