Hampshire Counts Down To Olympics

The countdown to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is being marked across Hampshire with art, dance, film, music, heritage and sport events.

It's the fourth annual "London 2012 Open Weekend" which this year runs from Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th July 2011.

Open Weekend events in Hampshire include:

Dysarticulate 2
A project devised by Portsmouth dyslexic artist Jon Adams to "flag up" the problems of living with a hidden disability will be showcased at the ArtSway Centre in the New Forest on Friday 22nd July between 11am and 5pm, in Vigo Park, Andover on Saturday 23rd July from 11am to 4pm, and in The New Theatre Royal/Guildhall Square Portsmouth from 11am to 4pm on Sunday 24th July.

Jon has invited the public to create artworks in the shape of home-made flags constructed from the pages of books that the owners no longer want, and then planted in the ground at a variety of locations.

The project is aimed at drawing attention to the difficulties dyslexic people have trying to cope with the written word.

Show Pony Parade
ArtSway is also holding creative workshops from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 23rd July, in which participants will be invited to create their own pony costumes to wear and parade for a performance in the New Forest.

Hampshire Food Festival
A three-day showcase of local food and farming in Hampshire begins on Friday 22nd July. There will be wine tasting at the Danebury Vineyard at Stockbridge; a Family Taste Adventure at Durleighmarsh Farm in Petersfield;  a food and drink festival at Pylewell Park, Lymington; Teddy Bear's Picnic at Basing House, Basingstoke; clay pigeon shoot and game dinner at Wickham Vineyard; the Hampshire Farmers' Market at Bishops Waltham; an open day at Northney Farm in Portsmouth; jam making with Hampshire Jam & Chutney Co in Winchester; a food market at Sunnyfields farm shop at Totton; beer tasting at Southwick Brewhouse near Fareham; Sunday roasts at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens near Romsey; and a milling and baking open day at Winchester City Mill.

The Romsey Sports Fair
Mountbatten School is offering free sports demonstrations, taster sessions and free attractions for all ages from 11am to 4pm on Sunday 24th July.

Eastleigh residents are invited to the Pavilion on the Park on Saturday 23rd July to "think Olympic" and express their creativity and create new works of art through paint and sculpture, using raw materials such as old trainers, t-shirts, rackets and balls. There are two sessions: from 10am to 12noon and from 1pm to 3pm.

Hidden Treasures
Tours for the family, lectures, a film, and craft workshops, will all help to open up Southampton City's Medieval past from Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th July.

Southampton Sportathon
Throughout the weekend there will be a programme of sports and physical activity courses, taster sessions, open evenings, fixtures, demonstrations and promotions across the city.

imPact Dance
Portsmouth will host its first ever three-day city-wide dance festival starting on Friday 22nd July, as diverse communities, dance forms, ages and cultures, participate in the "imPact Dance Event".

Open Weekend at the Portsmouth Live Site
The Big Screen in Guildhall Square will show a host of Olympic and Paralympic-related films, as well as interactive games to inspire and unleash people's creativity, from 10am to 6.30pm on Saturday 23rd July, and from 11am to 6pm on Sunday 24th July.

The big screen will also show the official outdoor premiere of the Tate Movie "The Itch of the Golden Nit!" created by thousands of children across the country and produced by the creators of Wallace and Gromit.

Charles Dickens Guided Walk and Free Entry to his Birthplace
A guided walk around the area where Charles Dickens and his family lived and worked, will take place on Saturday 23rd June at 2.30pm, with tickets at £3.  In addition, Dickens' birthplace, at 393 Old Commercial Road, will be open for people to visit from 10am to 5.30pm, free, throughout the weekend.

Meet the Saxons
An Anglo-Saxon re-enactment in the Portsmouth Museum garden will be performed by the group Weorod from 10.30am to 4pm on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th July. The events will include dressing a warrior for battle, an Anglo-Saxon burial, weapons and war gear, fashion and textiles, medicine, pottery, antler working and much more.

Tour Of The Town
A "Tour of the Town" in Fareham - in which visitors can travel to four points in any order - Ferneham Hall, Westbury Museum, Bath Lane Recreation Ground, and Fareham Leisure Centre - takes place from 11am to 2pm on Saturday 23rd July and Sunday 24th July. Participants get their card stamped at each one, and can take part in a variety of activities.

Havant Open Day
There's a chance to try out Olympic sports, with representatives from local sports clubs on hand at the Havant Leisure Centre from 11.45am to 5pm on Sunday 24th July. There will also be arts and crafts workshops by Making Space in the small hall.

Guildhall Boutique Market
A vintage boutique market will be held from 11am to 3pm on Sunday 24th July at Portsmouth Guildhall.

It's a Knockout
An "It's a Knockout" competition and sports taster sessions will take place at the Acorn Centre in Waterlooville from 1pm to 5pm on Saturday 23rd July. Teams of 8-10 people can enter for £10.

HDC "Be The Best" Open Weekend Challenge
Hart District Council is inviting local sports clubs to set challenges relating to various Olympic Sports for the public to take part in. The events are taking place from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 23rd July at the Hart Leisure Centre at Hitches Lane, Fleet, and at Frogmore Leisure Centre in Potley Hill Road, Yateley.

GO 4 it
There's a free family day out at Oak Farm Playing Fields, Tilebarn Close, Farnborough, for people to try out different sports and activities, from 10am to 4pm on Sunday 24th July.

Emsworth Park will be transformed on Saturday 23rd July into a sporting extravaganza with activities for everyone to take part in, including dancing, yoga, bootcamps and assault courses. It takes place from 11am to 4pm.

The Boat Project
More than 700 people across the country have responded to the appeal by boat-builders at Thornham Marina, Emsworth, to provide wooden mementoes to form part of the hull of one of the most unusual crafts ever to take to water - a unique 30-foot-long racing yacht which will set sail next May to celebrate the 2012 Olympic Games.

These include a cello, a granny's 50-year-old custard stirring spoon, and a scout's toggle that the owner wore when he took part in the 1948 Olympics ceremony.

A further donation day will take place at the Marina on Saturday 23rd July from 1pm to 7pm. Many of the donated items will be cut to the same width to form a mosaic along the outside of the boat, while others will be used structurally to form the hog, cuddy and transom.

When completed, the boat will make its maiden voyage along the South East coast during the London 2012 Games, and the boat building team, Lone Twin, are asking people to nominate a friend, colleague or family member who would relish the chance to sail with the squad.

No prior sailing experience is necessary as full training will be given, though you must be over 16 to take part. Nominations should be made by 30th July 2011 by visiting www.theboatproject.com

Sally Abbott, Regional Director, Arts Council England, said, "Making a donation to The Boat Project is a great opportunity for people of all ages in Hampshire to take part in the Cultural Olympiad and to feel a greater connection to the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games through the arts. We're pleased that so many people in the South East have become involved in the Boat Project so far and hope that this donation day will provide the project with even more fascinating donations and stories as well as being a great artistic experience for those who come to donate. I look forward to seeing the boat set sail for the first time next summer just in time for London 2012 and I hope that many people from the Emsworth area will be able to come along and observe the journey too."

London 2012 Open Weekend is designed to get as many people as possible involved in cultural activities in the run up to London 2012.
Caterina Loriggio, Creative Programmer for London 2012, South East, said: "London 2012 Open Weekend 2011 is set to be the biggest and best yet. People across Hampshire will be showing off their creative and sporting talents by actively participating in events to celebrate the greatest show on earth coming to the UK in only one year's time. The weekend will give people a taste for 2012, when the London 2012 Festival and the Olympic and Paralympic Games will bring a summer of cultural and sporting celebration across the nation."

London 2012 Chair Sebastian Coe said: "For our fourth year, Open Weekend is focussed on celebrating the 'One Year to Go' countdown to the London 2012 Games and helping communities across the country experience the best of British sporting, artistic and cultural talents up close. I'd encourage people to get involved at a local event as part of this nationwide celebration; it will be an amazing event."

Oona Muirhead, LOCOG Nations and Regions Group Member for the South East, said: "With just one year to go until Gamestime, London 2012 Open Weekend 2011 is a fantastic opportunity for people to get involved in exciting events taking place within their communities. With cultural, sporting and artistic talents being showcased there's something for everyone - go and see for yourselves!"

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