Crowds flock to the 40th Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival
- Credit: Archant
It was a family affair at the 40th anniversary of the Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival when the event’s founder, his son and eight year old grandson dressed up in straw for the event.
Brian Kell launched the popular town’s festival in the late 1970s and says four decades later it has become such a part of his family’s life that he can’t imagine it any other way.
Mr Kell, president of the Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival, said: “The weekend was smashing, everyone had a good time, it was a good atmosphere.
“This year I was grandad straw bear, my son was daddy bear and grandson Jasper was little straw bear.
“Jasper was born the day after the festival eight years ago, it was a mad rush to get to the hospital after the busy weekend.
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“It has taken over my family’s life, it’s been a lifelong commitment but one that has brought much pleasure and great experiences.”
For the 40th anniversary this year there were people who travelled from across the UK and Europe who crowded the streets to enjoy the colourful spectacle.
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There were 40 dance troupes, one to represent each year that he festival has been running.
There are normally around 30 dance teams.
NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay attended the weekend event, which sees a range of dancers, music, children’s entertainment and refreshments with a heavy focus on fun for all the family.
Mr Kell said: “There is a strong team of helpers who make this happen, they work very hard.
“We have to send a big thank you to the whole town who are very patient as their town is taken over. We know it must be difficult for local people who want to go about their daily business but hopefully the incredible spectacle makes it all worthwhile.
“We always get lots of positive comments and feedback from local residents and visitors alike. It brings the community together, which is very positive.”
The event has raised thousands for local community groups and good causes and already preparations are under way for the 41st festival which will be held on January 17, 18 and 19.