The day of the long-awaited Goan Festival finally dawned – with the forecast of rain to come.  It did not however hold back the crowds who came in their thousands from all corners of the UK and even overseas, to Archbishop Lanfranc School – Croydon, Surrey.  With the number of food stalls, no one could complain about the choice or variety or for that matter, the homely taste which was washed down with a nice drink in the hand.  And chat they did – some having met friends and relatives after a long time.  The mass in the packed hall was concelebrated by seven priests headed by the Goan Chaplain, Fr Francis Rosario SFX.  It is always a pleasure to hear the young musicians and the vibrant choir, ably coordinated by Gregg Carvalho.  There was no end of entertainment during the Festival – be it lively music from popular bands or disco, or staged items from the many hardworking Goan cultural organisations.  Even the children were catered for with fairground rides, ice cream and face painting and the opportunity to learn the traditional Lancers dance.

Plaudits must go to Herbert Fernandes, Festival Chairman and the many volunteers who freely gave of their time and energy much before, during and after the event to ensure that things went smoothly. For the first time, there were no complaints about the queues for the ladies’ as additional luxury trailer toilets had been installed.  And the rain – well, the umbrellas were raised only at the end of the Festival – and it enabled the organisers to clean and clear the grounds in good time!  Yes, it was a well-organised event, with all those who attended already looking forward to repeating the experience next year!

By Anita Rebello