Day a cult success

Enjoying the day: Brother and sisters, from the left, Zahra, Zain and Noor Ali at Abbeyfield Festival.               PICTUREs: Steve Ellis.
Enjoying the day: Brother and sisters, from the left, Zahra, Zain and Noor Ali at Abbeyfield Festival. PICTUREs: Steve Ellis.

FROM Yemen to Morocco, Palestine to Pakistan, Romania to Slovakia, the array of nationalities at a summer fair showed multiculturalism is thriving in a Sheffield community.

The annual Abbeyfield Multicultural Festival showcased the city’s diversity in a colourful celebration of cultures from across the world.

Carnival fever spread through the green space with the usual mix of food stalls, funfairs and arts and crafts tents at Abbeyfield Park, Burngreave.

Around 3,000 people turned out to the annual day-long festival – which defied the downpours to be one of the few city events not cancelled by the wet weather.

Musical entertainment was provided on the main stage courtesy of local group Overload, along with the midriff-baring dancing troupe Sisters of Tribellica. Pupils from Fir Vale School also showcased their talents.

Yet just eight weeks ago there was no event scheduled in the community’s calendar due to lack of funding.

Then members of the small organising committee rallied and, operating on a shoestring budget, gave residents a reason to celebrate.

But they feared the worst when rainstorms almost caused them to call off the event at the 11th hour.

Bilal Khan, chief organiser of the festival, said: “Council officers came out and we kept inspecting the grounds all day. Finally, we decided to press ahead, and I think we got a lot of people coming to us because so many other things were cancelled.

“We had representation from at least 15 different nationalities with people speaking more than 20 different languages.

“The whole idea is to bring people together and encourage integration. We always manage to do that and it’s something the community look forward to.

“The event used to have a lot of funding behind it but this time we had to call in a few favours. The last three years we have relied on volunteers. It’s great that we get such a good turnout still because we don’t advertise beyond the Burngreave area.

“It’s a great excuse for the community to get together.”