Biggest ever Dalston Children's Festival

Childrens flower show at Eastern Curve Garden

Bollywood dancing, boardgames and a boat ride where just some of the amazing activities on offer as part of the Dalston Children’s festival.

This year saw the biggest festival yet, with over 30 events on offer over the two days on 26 May and 2 June, with something all ages.

Around 5,000 children attended the festival, with loads going on families were spoilt for choice, with free play in Gillett Square and pizza making and flower pot planting in the Eastern Curve Garden families could get messy, have fun and enjoy the sunshine.

One of the biggest draws was the Dalston Square kids takeover, which included a visit from the Hackney Playbus, cycle training with Stars’n’Stripes, music and a peace quilt making session, helping children contribute to a piece of artwork that represents Hackney.

One Hackney resident, Jenny Gould said: “It's been great fun, great atmosphere in the square, good for all ages."

A visit from Mayor Philip Glanville and Deputy Mayor Bramble to the School of Noise session saw them helping children put together a piece of music using vegetables like broccoli and carrots as instruments.

Down in Haggerston, Hackney Carnival winners from 2017, Tropical Isles, helped kids create their own feather headdresses. Meanwhile in Stonebridge Gardens, Drag Queen Maxi More captivated her young audience with tales of individuality, diversity and tolerance. Alongside storytelling the Pride in the Park picnic, organised by the Council’s fostering service, played host to a giant bouncy castle, sports and a cheerleading workshop from Badu sports.

Jo Vaughan and Cheryl Holman who came all the way from Hitchin in Hertfordshire to the Pride in the Park picnic with their 5 year old children Rory and Georgia said: “We had a really great time, especially listening to Maxi’s stories, as a same sex family we are so proud of today that our children can come to a lovely diverse event and see a drag queen and see loads of different types of families.”

As well as lots of outdoor events, there was loads to do in some of Dalston’s iconic venues, with drum workshops at the Vortex Jazz club and a free screening of Disney’s ‘Book of Life’ at the Rio cinema which was followed by a Day of the Dead mask making workshop. The Arcola theatre played host to Serious Fun, a clowning workshop and the Hackney Pirates ship of adventures had a swashbuckling book swap and storytelling event.


Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Arts & Culture
Hats off to the artists, businesses and community groups who contributed and worked together to put on two Saturday's packed with things to do and crackling with fun! The kids loved it and the grown ups too, with everyone heading off home having had a good time.
Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Arts & Culture

All the events were free, and help parents learn about what’s on offer for families in Dalston, the creative heart of Hackney. The festival a community-led event and has been organised by the Dalston Children’s Network (DCN), a collective of organisations that have an on-going offer for children and young people in Dalston, and is supported by Hackney Council.

Have a look at all the pictures from the festival.