Fratton's 'amazing' community is celebrated as sun-soaked family festival draws thousands

FRATTON’S ‘amazing’ community came alive on Saturday as a main road was shut off for the area’s biggest family festival to date.

Tuesday, 17th September 2019, 12:36 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th September 2019, 4:06 pm
Alex Squires, 18, rides the helter skelter at the Fratton Family Festival. Picture: Mike Cooter
Alex Squires, 18, rides the helter skelter at the Fratton Family Festival. Picture: Mike Cooter

The Fratton Road party drew thousands of residents with live music, street food, fairground rides and rows of fun-packed community stalls.

Dad Mujib Rahman has been to the bash, organised by Fratton Big Local, for the past two years – hailing it a ‘credit to the community’.

‘It’s nice seeing people from all kinds of different backgrounds come together to have fun,' the 28-year-old said.

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Phoenix School of Dance at the Fratton Family Festival. Picture: Mike Cooter

‘I see loads of new people coming here every year because it makes them feel valued and respected.

‘Last time I came with my wife Hasna, but this year we have our nine-month-old baby with us – hopefully he’ll be walking in next year.'

The street bash on Sunday was the fourth of its kind and was held in an area between Fratton Bridge and Garnier Street from 11am to 4.30pm.

For Shaun Hewitt, 50, the day paved the way for a catch-up with a pal he had not seen in more than a decade, who sang in Tonic’s ska choir.

The Urban Vocal Group at the Fratton Family Festival. Picture: Mike Cooter

‘I popped down and bumped into a friend I haven’t seen for about 15 years,' said the Fratton resident of 39 years and regular attender.

‘Having catch-ups like that are what it’s all about and you can see this is growing by the number of people here.

‘Victorious started the same – it started in the Dockyard – and now look at that.’

Thanks to a raft of stalls put on by organisations across Portsmouth, families at the festival did not have to spend money to have fun.

Ella, three, on her dad's shoulders for a better view at the Fratton Family Festival. Picture: Mike Cooter

Vicky Fear, of the Aspex Gallery, helped run a fun dye-themed workshop linked to the art hub’s exhibition Exchange, with Monica Bonomo.

It saw youngsters and their parents draw and paint with a host of natural pigments, from turmeric, to hibiscus flower and to henna.

‘We keep coming back to the festival because it’s a really good way to tell people about Aspex,' said Vicky.

‘We’ve seen some great stuff today and who knows what may happen in the future, some of these excellent artists may exhibit in our gallery.’

Ali Tariq (3) gets his face painted at Fantazzy Facepainting at the Fratton Family Festival. Picture: Mike Cooter
The Archie Mckeown Band on the Mayfield Studios Stage at the Fratton Family Festival. Picture: Mike Cooter