LATVIAN FESTIVAL COMES TO CITY CENTRE

Children singing, folk dancing and a male voice choir are among the line-up of a packed programme of events that make up the Latvian Festival in Cathedral Square on Sunday May 4.

It is the first time the Latvian community has held the annual festival in the city centre to share their culture and remember their heritage.

The event is being organised by the Latvian Association of Peterborough and will culminate with a ball in the evening at the Millennium Centre in Dickens Street where people will be invited to share traditional Latvian dishes and celebrate the day’s success.

The day kicks off at 9.50am with a march into Cathedral Square. This will be followed by an opening speech and then a performance by children from the Peterborough Latvian Saturday school ‘Owl Academy’ who will sing a Latvian song with the adult choir.  This will be followed by folk dancing by children from the academy. Throughout the day there will be many more performances by children and adults until the event closes at 5pm. The ball starts at 6pm.

Annette Joyce, Peterborough City Council’s Head of Commercial Operations, said: “We hope lots of people will come out and enjoy the Latvian Festival in Cathedral Square to enable one of the city’s smaller communities to share with the city its heritage and traditions.

“Peterborough has a rich and long history of welcoming other cultures and I hope this festival will become another important event on our annual calendar.”

Iveta Suna, chair of the Latvian Association of Peterborough, said: “Our festivals are very important for us. They allow us to come together, meet our friends and acquaintances, and hopefully meet some new ones.

“It is customary to celebrate the festival of May 4 –the day Latvia gained its independence. This year our goal is to create a bigger event with a big festival programme, not only for Latvians , but for the whole community to enjoy.

“This year the Latvian capital Riga has been nominated for the European Capital of Culture 2014. We would like to bring a piece of Latvia to Peterborough, showing different Latvian national costumes, singing beautiful songs and showing our Latvian folk dancing. Please come along and enjoy the day with us.”

On the day, Cathedral Square will host a number of stalls displaying Latvian arts, a museum exhibition and face painting for children.

Photo: Emma Bothamley

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