A weekend packed with entertainment for 33rd Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival

EVERY year he entertains by his frantic and clumsy gestures the good folk of Whittlesey “who had on the previous day subscribed to the rustics, a spread of beer, tobacco and beef”.

That was the tradition of the Straw Bear festival in the 19th Century - but in its modern guise it will attract thousands of people to Fenland for a weekend of entertainment.

This year’s festival starts on Friday January 13 with a concert at the Ivy Leaf Club. QuickSilver, Pete Coe and Tautas Roks will all perform. Tickets cost �9.

Saturday is, as always, the highlight of the festival with parades across the town from 10.30am-3.30pm, led by the Straw Bear with various dance teams in tow.

In addition, Pete White will delight crowds with his Suitcase Circus from noon on the market place and stories will be told in the Methodist/United Reformed Church in Queen Street from 12.30pm-3.15pm.

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Whittlesey Library also hosts poetry by Poets United from 12.30-4.30pm and a one-man folk festival with Pete Coe from 2-3pm.

Saturday evening offers a choice of two events. Sir Harry Smith Community College hosts a barn dance featuring Hekety with Pete Coe and a cajun dance at Childer’s Club stars Doughboy Zydeco.

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Both events run from 8-11.30pm. Tickets are �9 for the barn dance and �7.50 for the cajun dance.

The festival closes with music and dance at Sir Harry Smith on Sunday January 15 from noon with the burning of the Bear at 2.30pm. Entry is free.

• Tickets for the Friday concert, Saturday barn dance and Saturday cajun dance can be obtained from the Box Office, 4 Delph Street, Whittlesey, Peterborough, PE7 1QQ, or by calling 01733 204055. Cheques should be made payable to Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival.

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