Wimbledon Park to host festival of culture and sport

Launching the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad in Merton, Wimbledon Park is all set to host the Festival of Culture and Sport over the weekend of the 27/28 September. The event is being organised by Merton Council in partnership with the London Development Agency and ProActive South London.

The free two-day sporting and cultural extravaganza will be officially opened by paralympian and world champion sailor John Robertson and Merton Mayor Councillor Martin Whelton. The festival will give visitors to the park the opportunity to try out various sports and benefit from a wide range of cultural experiences.

The event will showcase a broad range of sports including cycling both as a sport and a recreational activity. Qualified coaches will be on hand to offer expert advice and training in BMX and mountain biking. There will also be a range of disability bikes available.

Other sports taking centre stage at the festival include tennis, watersports, athletics, football, netball, basketball, bowls, ultimate frisbee, table tennis, judo, karate and volleyball. Visitors will have the chance to see the experts show off their skills and will be able to sign up for coaching qualifications and volunteering.

Celebrating cultural diversity, the Community Park Stage will be home to a rich array of local music and dance groups which will be performing during the afternoon. Samba band Bloco Fogo will be performing as well as hosting a public workshop where festival-goers will be able to enjoy a rare treat of banging out Brazilian, Cuban and African drum rhythms.

Merton Council Cabinet Member for Community Services Councillor Maurice Groves said: “The festival gives everyone, young and old, the chance to try something new and discover a talent they never knew they had. Bringing together culture and sport is what the Olympics, Paralympics and the cultural Olympiad is all about. This is also a great opportunity for volunteers to get involved in ensuring the festival runs smoothly and is an enjoyable occasion for everyone. The event aims to inspire all residents across the communities to engage in cultural and sporting activities to enhance their quality of life and to create a long lasting legacy.”

Councillor Martin Whelton said: “I am delighted to be launching the 2012 Cultural Olympiad in Merton. The weekend festival of culture and sport in Wimbledon Park is both exciting and a wonderful opportunity for people to try out sports and experience a diverse range of cultural activities. It’s also great to see so many different organisations working together in partnership to put on this wonderful free event for the local community.”