From the Dorset Echo
INSIGHTS into a traditional Traveller lifestyle were on offer at Dorchester Borough Gardens.
Traditional Gypsy caravans, crafts and music were on show at the event to mark Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month.
The day also included a baptism service for a Romany Gypsy family conducted by Reverend Roger Redding.
The free event was organised by the South West Dorset Multi-cultural Network in partnership with the ethnic minority and Traveller achievement service and community workers from NHS Dorset and the Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust.
West Dorset District Council’s community development officer Emma Scott said: “The aim of the day is to celebrate Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month.
“Gypsies are the largest ethnic minority group in West Dorset so this is a really nice way for people to come along and learn a bit more about a culture they don’t necessarily know very much about.”
As well as a traditional Traveller kitchen and peg making on show, the day included music from Dave Rawlins on the mandolin and storytelling from Michael Loader.
Youngsters were also given the chance to check out two Gypsy caravans, or vardos, on show and a miniature children’s caravan.
Mrs Scott said: “The kids really love them and find them enchanting and intriguing.
“People are welcome to step inside and have a look at them as well as touch the artefacts and get a feel of how life on the road really was.
“We are also doing consultation with Gypsies and Travellers to find out what their experiences are like of living in West Dorset.”
She added: “We also have displays about the history of Gypsies in Dorset and we have various displays depicting what life was like in the past for Gypsies.”
Mrs Scott also praised Dorchester Town Council for its support of the event and for allowing it to take place in the Borough Gardens.
She said: “We want to say a big thank-you to the town council who support this event and allow us to use the Borough Gardens.”
Mrs Scott said that she hoped the annual event would continue for the foreseeable future.