Gallery: Whittlesey Straw Bear is more colourful than ever as thousands pack streets for annual parade

 Straw Bear festival, Whittlesey. 2015. Picture: Steve Williams.

Straw Bear festival, Whittlesey. 2015. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Thousands of people packed Whittlesey at the weekend for the 36th annual Straw Bear festival which lived up to its promise and was bigger and more eccentric than ever this year.

The colourful folk festival which runs over three days culminated in the Straw Bear bonfire on Sunday at the Sir Harry Smith Community College. About 350 performers including Molly Dancers from across East Anglia followed the Straw Bear around the town performing at many different venues.

There was traditional music with various styles of dancing, story telling, poetry, a Barn and Cajun dance and folk concert.

The event kicked off on Friday with music and comedy at the Ivy Leaf Club. The Islanders, comedian Keith Donnelly and the world’s only Anglo-Latvian Zydecajun Ceilidh band, Ock’ n’ Dough, were on the bill.

Saturday saw the popular Straw Bear procession through the streets which were lined by an eager crowd of thousands.

There was dancing in the streets including Molly, Sword, Morris Dancers, Mummers and Appalachian Steppers.

Storyteller Patrick Ryan attracted good crowds at Queen Street Chapel. At Whittlesey Library, Dan Evans played guitar and Poets United presented their latest work.

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The evening saw a Black Beards Tea Party and Barn Dance at St Harry Smith Community College.

A plough service late on Sunday afternoon completed the weekend’s celebrations.

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