All the fun of the Bear! Whittlesey to fight off winter blues with 39th annual Straw Bear Festival this January

Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival 2016. Picture: Steve Williams,

Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival 2016. Picture: Steve Williams, - Credit: Archant

The New Year is set to be welcomed in style in Whittlesey – thanks to the 38th Straw Bear Festival.

Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival 2016. Picture: Steve Williams,

Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival 2016. Picture: Steve Williams, - Credit: Archant

Thousands of people are expected to descend on the Fenland town from all over the world for the annual event, which this year runs from January 13-15.

The colourful folk festival will see about hundreds of performers follow the Straw Bear around the town, on what promoters say will be a “fascinating weekend of music, colour, humour and dancing.”

Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival 2016. Alderman Jacobs school, Whittlesey. Picture: Steve Williams,

Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival 2016. Alderman Jacobs school, Whittlesey. Picture: Steve Williams, - Credit: Archant

Traditional music, poetry, storing telling and a Barn dance will entertain visitors after the festival kicks off on Friday January 13 with music and comedy at the Ivy Leaf Club, where Sam Kelly, Flossie Malavialle and Russell & Algar top the bill.

The Straw Bear procession departs from Manor Field Leisure Centre in Station Road at 10.30pm on Saturday (14), accompanied by various dance sides.

Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival 2016. Picture: Steve Williams,

Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival 2016. Picture: Steve Williams, - Credit: Archant


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Storyteller sessions hosted by the Yarnsmith of Norwich, Dave Tong, will take place at the Methodist United Reformed Church on Queen Street from 12.30pm, and town hall sessions with Poets United and Kevin Buxton will take place at 12.30, 2 and 3pm respectively.

The evening’s festivities will begin with the traditional Saturday Night Barn Dance at Sir Harry Smith Community College, with the Ironmasters and Caller Baz Parkes topping the bill at 8pm. Tickets are £12.

Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival 2016. Picture: Steve Williams,

Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival 2016. Picture: Steve Williams, - Credit: Archant

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On Sunday (15), the Straw Bear Bonfire takes place at Sir Harry Smith College at 2.30pm following a music and dance session which kicks off at noon.

A free park and ride bus service will operate from Sir Harry Smith College from 9am-4pm .

Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival 2016. Picture: Steve Williams,

Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival 2016. Picture: Steve Williams, - Credit: Archant

Road closures will operate around the town on Saturday including Market Street, St Mary’s Street, London Street, Station Road, Market Square, High Causeway,and Gracious Street. Signs will be in place highlighting restrictions.

For more information or for tickets, visit www.strawbear.org.uk.

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