Celebrate All Things Island on Isle of Wight Day

Being an Islander is something special. Something marks out Isle of Wight people, and it’s hard to tie down exactly what it is. And it’s something that grows on you if you come here often enough as well.

Perhaps Jane Austen had the right idea in Mansfield Park: “She thinks of nothing but the Isle of Wight, and she calls it the island, as if there were not another island in the world.”  For that is exactly how islanders do refer to the Island – perhaps because there is no other island nearby, apart from the ‘North Island’, of course. That’s what Islanders often call mainland Britain if you were wondering.

In a grand gesture to celebrate all that is good about our Island, the High Sheriff, Robin Courage, has founded an Isle of Wight Day that is to be held on Saturday September 24th. Eighty miles of bunting has been made to decorate the 60 to 70 different events and most of the Island’s schools are teaching an Island themed curriculum for the week running up to the big day. All the church bells will ring at 10am on the Saturday to herald the beginning of the festivities, and this quick round up gives an inkling of what it is about living here…

We love a good carnival: The day will be rounded off by a massive parade/carnival through Newport starting at the Quay at 5.30pm that will include loads of carnival groups, car clubs, military vehicles, and marching bands along with 500 marching freemasons from across the Island.

We love a good party: The parade will finish at St George’s Park for an evening of live entertainment that will include Derek Sandy singing his famous song ‘Welcome to the Isle of Wight’

We’re a bit bonkers: Rob Da Bank has loaned the Bestival’s ‘Biggest Bouncy Castle in the World’ for the day and it will be at Smallbrook Stadium for everyone to enjoy. Brading has a scarecrow festival, and there’s a kite festival in Newchurch.

We love our own food: Bembridge Harbour has a local food fayre (esp seafood), there’s a Sweetcorn Fayre at Arreton and Green Barn Farm in Yarmouth have a goat cheese tasting.

We are vintage – in fact we invented it: Radio Solent is bringing the Big Cuppa tea dance event to Cowes Yacht Haven, The George in Yarmouth has a St George’s themed garden party and there are street parties across the whole Island in vintage style – with lots of bunting obviously.

We love messing about in boats: All of the Island’s sailing clubs are organising a yachting relay from Yarmouth in the west of the Solent to Bembridge in the East. Each club will host a sailing competition during which a baton will be passed from one club’s boat to another.

We love to sing: On Sunday at 4pm the weekend will be rounded off with a big Songs of Praise at Cowes Enterprise College with the Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra and choir, to which everyone is invited.

See the website for more details. www.isleofwightday.com

Jo Macaulay

13 September 2016

By Jo Macaulay in Articles