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Flag-waving youngsters paraded in the sunshine to kick off three days of festivities to mark St George’s Day.
Schoolchildren from St Francis Primary, St Michael’s Infants, West Borough Primary, Archbishop Courtenay Primary and Hollingbourne Primary marched along Week Street, Fremlin Walk and Earl Street, led by a figure of the legendary St George.
They then gathered for a flag raising ceremony at Brenchley Gardens, performed by the Mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Denise Joy, and Archbishop Courtenay student Brendan.
The event had been organised by the North West Kent Racial Equality Council, with Maidstone Borough Council, although they couldn't take credit for the beautiful weather.
Gurvinder Sandher, from the equality council, said: “It is the first time we have organised a St George’s Day parade in Maidstone amd over the coming years hope to make this bigger and better. We are really keen to develop the St George’s Day festivities in Maidstone because I think it is a great event.”
Cllr Joy said: “It was amazing when we came up and we saw all these flags and the amazing craft things that the children have made.”
The parade was accompanied by the Four by Four Bhangra Drummers and the flag raising ceremony was accompanied by music from the Premier Brass Band.
The event was just the start of activities, which include pearly kings and queens, Maypole and Morris dancing and a variety of music.
There will be a medieval fayre in Brenchley Gardens on both Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4.30pm both days, plus Celtic style folk rock music on the bandstand on Saturday and a mechanical fire breathing dragon and robotic horse will perform there on Sunday.
A traditional Scouts parade will also take place through the town centre on Sunday.
The events, organised by Maidstone council, Town Centre Management and the North West Racial Equality Council, and supported by the Kent Messenger and Kent County Council, are some of the biggest celebrations for the patriotic festival the town has seen for some years.