GLORIOUS sunshine greeted this year’s KBB Suffolk FA Grassroots Festival.
Crowds flocked to the free two-day World Cup themed event which took place at Whitton United FC on the outskirts of Ipswich on Saturday and Sunday.
More than 130 teams competed in the festival from under-7s to under-16s, while there was a disability festival and 11v11 football for the first time.
The festival also featured the Crown Imperial Girls’ Under-13 Cup Final on Sunday afternoon between Beccles Town and Ipswich Valley Rangers, who won 2-0.
Over the course of the weekend there were appearances from former Ipswich Town players Simon Milton and Titus Bramble, who were there representing the Futurestars project.
They handed out certificates to participants as did Town 102 presenter Rob Chandler, who was there along with members of the Town 102 Kids’ Trust Street Team collecting money for the charity.
Ipswich Town mascots Bluey and Crazee also attended on both days as the festival was hosted by Whitton United FC for the first time, after moving across town from Gainsborough Sports Centre.
Suffolk FA Football Development Manager Jodie Allard said: “I have really enjoyed being a part of the eighth Grassroots Festival at a brand new venue.
“It was great to see so many players, parents, coaches and referees across the weekend playing and enjoying football in a great environment with the sun shining and a smile on their faces.
“A big thank you goes to our sponsors KBB and in particular Roger Peck and his family without whom the festival would not take place.
“Also to Whitton United for being fantastic hosts and finally all the Suffolk FA staff who worked tirelessly across the weekend to give everyone involved a great football experience.”
KBB Director Roger Peck said: “A big thank you goes to Whitton United for all their work in hosting the festival, especially the groundstaff in preparing the pitches after our Youth Cup Finals Day at the same venue the week before.
“Also a massive thank you to the Suffolk FA staff who have again delivered a well organised and run festival.
“Moving to a new venue this year was always going to be a challenge, but it has worked out really well and we have had a very social and friendly event with so much positive feedback.
“It has been great to see so many youngsters enjoying the beautiful game on two beautiful days.
“From a sponsor’s point of view the aim was to see the youngsters enjoying football and that has definitely been the case again this year.”
Whitton United Secretary Phil Pemberton said: “As a community club we were delighted to be invited by KBB and Suffolk FA to stage the Grassroots Festival.
“We pride ourselves on encouraging youngsters from the local area to get involved in organised football and Whitton United and this festival is a good fit.
“We were impressed with how well organised the festival was and KBB and Suffolk FA have done an excellent job, and hopefully we can work with them again in the future.”