FENLANDER: Whittlesey gears itself up for annual Straw Bear Festival celebrations

WHITTLESEY is gearing itself up for one of Fenland’s great traditional celebrations next weekend.

Thousands of people will be taking part in the three-day Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival, which kicks off next Friday (January 14).

A crowd of about 5,000 is expected to pack the streets on Saturday for the traditional festival highlight – the procession of the straw-clad “bear” round the town. More than 40 dance teams will be accompanying him on his rounds. The procession is due to start from the Manor Leisure Centre at 10.30am, returning about 4pm.

Fenland District Council has again provided a grant of �2,000 to help with the festival’s costs, as well as funding and organising all the necessary traffic management. And Councillor Peter Murphy, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for community events, is urging people to go along and join in the fun.

“The Straw Bear Festival is one of the great events in the Fenland calendar,” he said. “It brings the whole local community together as well as attracting large numbers from outside. That, in turn, helps to give local traders a big boost. So we’re delighted to give it our support again this year.”

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