# Top topics

culture outdoors green spaces

Picnic in the Park provides free lunches and fun for Chelmsford children


Picnic in the Park returned to Melbourne Park last week, bringing free entertainment, activities and hot lunches to children in the area.

The week-long summer holiday event, organised by the council’s Community Sport and Wellbeing team, included four hours of free sport, craft and entertainment sessions per day from 24–28 July. This was the third year Picnic in the Park was held in Melbourne.

Entertainment ranging from dinosaurs to daytime disco

Each day was themed to keep things interesting! Monday kicked off with Funfair Day, with a Ferris wheel, funfair games and ‘Party Man’ Mr. B performing his much-loved magic show and balloon modelling.

Tuesday was Sports Mania, which saw football penalty shoot outs, basketball hoops, a giant dart board and horse hopper race competitions. There was also a Scooter & Skateboarding workshop from Team Rubicon.

Wednesday was a big day in more ways than one with a Jurassic Jungle theme. Kids had a 3D dinosaur experience, with a ‘live’ T-Rex in attendance! The Travelling Natural History Museum held one of their legendary Dinosaur Parties, complete with a dinosaur display, sand dig, a meet-and-greet with Dinoman and Dinogirl, and educational talks.

Protect the Planet, Sea and Land day took place on Thursday. A Snakes Alive reptile handling workshop, and educational talks and clay modelling sessions with RHS Hyde Hall, showed attendees the beauty and wonder of our planet.

Friday was Disco Fever day, with Mr B. returning to host a huge party for everyone, with a magic show, party games and balloon modelling. Moving Canvas enhanced the disco fever with glitter tattoos and face paint.

Every day of the action-packed week also had inflatables provided by 1st2Bounce, our ‘Fender Blender’ smoothie bike, an arts and crafts tent, and lots of sports and games on the field. Chelmsford CVS volunteers were on site too, handing out free sun cream and providing family support and advice.

A visit from the Deputy Mayor of Chelmsford

On Wednesday, Chelmsford’s Deputy Mayor, Councillor Jude Deakin, visited Picnic in the Park to meet with parents and children – and of course enjoy the dinosaur show!


“It was brilliant to see the community come together for a fun-filled day in the park. It’s wonderful that things like Picnic in the Park and Play in the Park are available for the residents of Chelmsford, and to see so many people enjoying the event was fantastic. And I have to say – the dinosaurs were a particularly popular attraction!”

Cllr Jude Deakin, Deputy Mayor of Chelmsford

Free lunches provided all week

Caterers JP’s Kitchen were on site every day providing free hot lunches for children entitled to free school meals. Over 500 meals were served across the week, keeping energy levels up for the afternoon sessions.

“It’s great to see Play in the Park back for its third year. In the current climate, events like this are more important than ever. By providing free entertainment and ensuring that children eligible for free school meals don’t go hungry during the holidays, we hope to help take the pressure off a little for local parents.”

Councillor Natacha Dudley, Cabinet Member for an Active Chelmsford

Comments from parents

Picnic in the Park was enjoyed by many families across Chelmsford, with positive comments received from parents:

“We attended for three of the five days, it was so much fun for the children! Lots of different activities to keep them entertained, from learning some tennis to making their own smoothies by pedalling a bike! Even got to hold a snake! What a treat.”

“A wonderful day for families to have fun and entertain their children when funds are tight.”

“Really enjoyable for the kids. They were all so excited to come back every day. Inflatables, face paint and food were excellent. All the activities were amazing. Would definitely come again.”

“We were told about Picnic in the Park by my daughter’s school, via email. It has been a fantastic week. We came to four of the five days and there has been such a variety of activities and entertainment. The weather has been up and down this week, but it hasn’t stopped us all having fun. The hot meals that have been provided have been amazing and varied. Thank you so much.”

“My grandchildren and I have attended every day. Food has been great and the staff are very pleasant. The entertainment for the children has been outstanding. A different variety every day, love them all.”

“I brought my two children and my niece, they all loved the face painting, the inflatables, and the animals. It was very interactive and the staff were all so kind and approachable. The day was well put together. really helped to keep the children occupied and give them something to look forward to.”

Play in the Park is running across Chelmsford throughout August. Find sessions in your local area at www.chelmsford.gov.uk/play.

Find more Community Sport and Wellbeing events and activities.

facebook twitter mail linkedin
Molly Smith
Molly Smith

Molly writes stories about public health, community safety, leisure, community sport, parking and Chelmsford Market.