Roaring Twenties: Classic cars and circus performers swing into Kent town

Watch: Video report by ITV News Meridian's Kit Bradshaw

Classic cars, circus performers and dancers have descended on a Kent town for a 1920s-themed weekend of festivities.

The event in Sittingbourne had been planned for last summer, to mark the beginning of the new decade by celebrating the fashion, music and iconic inventions of the previous century.

After a 12-month delay because of the pandemic, it has gone ahead in this weekend’s glorious weather, while abiding by current government restrictions.

Many of those attending dressed for the occasion, with a variety of 1920s fashions on display.

Cllr Richard Palmer, cabinet member for communities on Swale Borough Council, believes the 1920s and 2020s have “something in common”.

“We’re coming out of a very challenging period, just as they were then. The 1920s was a period of drastic change, just like what we are going through in the 2020s,” Cllr Palmer added.

  • Cllr Richard Palmer, Swale Borough Council (Ind)

The Mayor of Swale, Cllr Paul Stephen, officially opened the Swale Media Arts Centre on Sittingbourne High Street on Saturday morning.

There were also ticketed events in theatres and a specially-erected marquee, which were running at 50% capacity to help with social distancing.

A display of outfits from the 1920s from various cultures, on the stand of local charity Diversity House.

One of the charities exhibiting at the event was Diversity House, which runs community projects in the local area. 

Its founder and chief executive, Christine Locke, told ITV News Meridian that they settled on the theme of “fashion and women” for their stall. 

“We wanted to do an inclusive 1920s and we chose the theme of fashion and women. You have from the English [outfits] to the African and Persian and we have jewellery of all sorts of backgrounds,” Ms Locke added.

  • Christine Locke, local charity worker

A local dance group entertained the crowds with an impromptu flash mob.

The organisers hope staging such events will help demonstrate how people can come together in a Covid-secure way, as England prepares for a major lifting of restrictions on Monday