Venture to Barking next weekend for the charming Molten Festival, particularly if you have some little nippers in tow, and your efforts will be rewarded with some fabulous free family fun.
The programme kicks off with the switching on of Barking Illuminations. Each night of the festival a light display will transform Barking Town Square into a mystical urban forest, with reactive light designs inspired by nature to frolic with from dusk until 10pm.
Accompanying the first day of the Illuminations, there’s a Lantern Parade. Kids can make their own lanterns in free workshops between 12-2pm at the Vicarage Shopping Centre and then show them off in the ensuing parade from 4.30pm in Barking Town Centre with a brass band and a samba band to encourage it along. Watch out for the larger than life 'flame-throwing bird' and the moon queen!
The Molten Mix offers all sorts of free activities to try during the week, from dance to Urdu poetry plus an exhibition on 'Barking Past, Present and Future'.
Street entertainment throughout the festival comes from a giant polar bear, a talking Christmas tree, the Lollipop Man, a runaway gift, some silly Angels and the morris dancing Belles of London City.
The grand finale is Hydromania, a fountains and fireworks spectacular that will wow kids and most likely tickle adults - particularly the human water fountain, which if nothing else is an extraordinary example of hose pipe manipulation! On Saturday 3 December from 5pm.
The Molten Festival is created by various arts groups in Barking, and is a testament to the increasingly vibrant community scene in the area.
Molten Festival runs from 26 November - 3 December. Find out more at the festival website: www.moltenfestival.org or like their Facebook page. And it's not that far - Barking is on the Hammersmith & City and District lines, or you can get a train from Fenchurch Street.
One of the organisations supporting Molten is the Broadway Theatre, which is under threat of having all its funding withdrawn by the Borough. Visit it while you're in Barking, support its pantomime and help keep the Broadway open.
Do you know the Borough of Barking and Dagenham well? We need a volunteer to suggest the top 10 things to do there. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.