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Hackney set for ‘biggest ever’ Dalston Children’s Festival

Royal booking: Drag queen Maxi More will run storytelling sessions at the Pride picnic. Photograph: Wilton’s Music Hall

Over 30 free activities will be on offer for families at the “biggest ever” Dalston Children’s Festival later this month, Hackney Council has announced.

For two days of the upcoming half-term holiday – 26 May and 2 June – Dalston Square will be turned into a gigantic playground for the borough’s under-18s.

Kids will be able to enjoy games, films, craft workshops and even a visit from the famous Hackney Playbus.

Among the highlights are free storytelling sessions with drag queen Maxi More – part of the Pride in the Park family picnic at Stonebridge Gardens on 26 May.

More will recount tales that teach children to embrace their individuality and spread a message of tolerance.

The picnic – part of both the children’s festival and Hackney’s year-long Pride 365 celebrations – will also be a chance for people to find out more about becoming a LGBTQI+ foster carer or adoptive family.

Visitors are encouraged to bring food and a blanket, and enjoy the bouncy castle, ice cream van, henna art and face painting on offer.

Rachel Duke, who went to last year’s picnic with her partner Lottie and two sons Frankie and Wilf, said: “It was a great chance for our young children to play and hang out in the park with lots of other LGBTQI+ families, and it’s good to see the council backing this kind of inclusive event once again.”

Hackney’s newly re-elected Mayor Philip Glanville is looking forward to attending, and said he is proud that the council continues to “support the borough’s diverse communities and bring people together”.

Sprinkle of fun: Dalston Square will become a playground for two days. Photograph: Hackney Council

As well as the picnic, the children’s festival will feature a screening of Disney’s Coco in Spanish with English subtitles, Day of the Dead-inspired craft workshops, Bollywood dancing and more.

The community-led festival is organised by the Dalston Children’s Network (DCN), a collective of local groups which provide services for youngsters, with support from Hackney Council.

Town Hall chief executive Tim Shields said: “It’s really great to see the borough’s community groups, business and artists working together to provide these fantastic free events for Hackney’s families and children – right in the heart of the borough’s cultural centre, Dalston.

“Families across Hackney should head down to the festival throughout both days. It is an event not to be missed.”

For more details about Dalston Children’s Festival 2018, please visit

You can also follow the event on Twitter using #dalstonchildren or on the Dalston Children’s Festival Facebook page.

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