Whittlesey is the epicentre of a huge winter party this weekend (January 13-14) when it becomes time to follow the bear once again through the town’s streets.
The annual Straw Bear Festival returns with its trademark overflowing pubs, Molly and Morris dancer merriment and numerous fringe events that guarantees enjoyment for all ages.
The tradition stems back centuries, when one of the confraternity of the plough dressed as a ‘straw bear’ on the Tuesday following Plough Monday. The festival’s grown from strength to strength since being revived in the 1980’s and is a mainstay in every Fenland calendar.
The daytime parade kicks everything off and keeps the party going around the town but on Saturday night there’s also a Barn Dance (ticketed) at Sir Harry Smith Community College and Sunday sees the burning of the bear, which takes place at the same venue from 12 noon to 2.30pm.
There are also plenty of free music events, dance displays and storytelling sessions across the weekend, not forgetting the procession of the bear throughout the town which certainly is a sight to behold!
It’s safe to say it will be packed and the pubs and streets will be buzzing. The town truly comes alive this weekend, so to ensure you don’t miss out ovisit www.strawbear.org.uk. The website also details road closures in the town.
Photos: Chris Brudenell