Melksham is gearing up for an action-packed year of community events with the return of old favourites and some new events to add to the calendar.
It has been a relatively quiet couple of years because of pandemic restrictions – and whilst 2021 saw the triumphant return of the Melksham Food and River Festival and the Christmas Lights switch-on, both with record crowds, other popular events took another year off.
But with Melksham Carnival and Party In The Park hopefully set to return this summer, the first ever Melksham Pride Festival scheduled for June, and a whole host of national events set to bring the nation together – including the Beijing Winter Olympics in Beijing in February, the Queen’s 70th Jubilee in June, the Women’s Football Euro, hosted in England, in July, the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in July, and the Qatar Football World Cup in November – 2022 is shaping up to be a year to remember.
And there could be more to come locally – Melksham Town Council is also in talks to launch the Melksham ArtBeats Festival, a new event comprising of four weekend mini festivals a year, including contemporary/classical music concerts, art exhibitions in the Assembly Hall, with hands-on workshops, and music from local bands and artists.
Here are some of the local highlights to look forward to:
Last seen in the summer of 2019, Melksham’s popular carnival procession is set to march back through the town later this year. About the plans already under way, on behalf of the Melksham Carnival committee, Beth Dark said, “Since there were so many of our wonderful community events cancelled due to the pandemic, we are hoping that this will be the best carnival yet!
“There is already talk of people entering floats and walking groups, who have never done so before, and those who are regular entrants are already thinking of themes, costumes and decorations.
“The first event in our calendar is Melksham Carnival Royalty selection, which will be in March. Keep your eye on our social media page, and the Melksham News, for news on the date and venue.
“We are looking forward to seeing you all, either in the procession, or cheering us on from the streets of our lovely town.”
Melksham Pride Festival
The first ever Melksham Pride event, celebrating the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, promises to be one to remember with live entertainment, stalls, competitions, information on LGBT issues, and rainbow-filled fun for all the family.
The Melksham Pride Festival organised by Proud Melksham – the new local group launched last year – will be held on Sunday 12th June in the Assembly Hall.
“Join us at the Melksham Assembly Hall for a fun-filled day for all the family!” said founder of Proud Melksham, Ryan Clarke. “Pride is a celebration of who you are and what makes you unique. We welcome each and every one of you and really can’t wait to share this event with you all.
“More details will follow as we head towards June, so keep an eye on our social media @ProudMelksham to learn more. We will be confirming the line-up of stalls and events, and we will have some big names for you!”
Melksham Food and River Festival
The food and river festival was enjoyed last year by an estimated 18,000 people in King George V Playing Fields. And for this year’s two-day event, the festival’s committee are hoping to build on its success.
30 stallholders have already signed up and the committee is in talks with a number of local family entertainment acts to make their return or debut at the festival.
On behalf of the festival’s committee, Adrienne Westbrook, told Melksham News, “Last year’s event was spectacular! And we want to build on this success. For 2022 we are into the major planning stages – there will be a mix of the ‘tried and tested’ with new attractions – we need to keep evolving and making things exciting.
“We have 30 stallholders already booked in – so we are off to a really good start. There will be exciting action on the river as always, with canoeing and paddleboarding taster sessions. And Wiltshire Search and Rescue have said they would love to come back too.
“Entertainment will be moving to the main tent – and we are planning to bring a host of local family acts to entertain the crowds. Holt Morris Dancing, rock and roll dancing, and belly dancing will be returning, alongside new entertainment acts.”
The Melksham Food and River Festival will be held on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th September.
The Queen’s 70th Jubilee
Jubilee celebrations always inspire people to come together for numerous celebrations, including street parties, and for the Queen’s 70th Jubilee this year, to be held across a four-day UK bank holiday weekend (2nd June to 5th June), it is hoped that the community will once again get its bunting out to celebrate the Queen’s historic reign.
Amongst the national highlights include a special live concert from Buckingham Palace on Saturday 4th June, staged and broadcast by the BBC, that will bring together some of the world’s biggest entertainment stars to celebrate the most significant and joyous moments from the Queen’s seven-decade reign.
In Melksham, plans are yet to be announced, but Melksham Town Council has told Melksham News that any future decisions relating to the celebrations and/or any town council-run events will be publicised closer to the time.