FENLANDER: Chatteris Historic Festival includes twin celebration of Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics

CHATTERIS is all geared up for a four-day Diamond Jubilee party this weekend – and even the town’s dogs are poised to stage their own royal tribute.

The town’s Historic Festival is a well established tradition. But this year it has a special flavour, with a twin celebration of the Queen’s 60 years on the throne and this summer’s Olympics.

Thousands of people are expected to flock to the extended festival, a Fenland Four Seasons event which is organised jointly by Fenland District Council and Chatteris Town Council with the enthusiastic support of volunteers.

Councillor Peter Murphy, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for the event, said: “This year’s festival is obviously particularly special, which is why we’ve invested even more money, time and effort than usual. We’re all determined to make it a weekend that everyone will remember for many years to come.”

Furrowfields Park in Chatteris is the venue for most of the events. Admission is 50p per person each day.

The main festivities kick off this evening (Friday) with a Best of British Party Night with live music and comedy and a three-course meal including that old British favourite, bangers and mash.

Partygoers are being invited to dress to reflect their favourite era from the Queen’s reign.

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Royalty is the thread running through the weekend. It even forms the basis for Sunday’s fun dog show, an annual favourite. Classes include the Most Royal Wave (for the waggiest tail), Most Beautiful Heir (nicest hair/coat) and Queen of Hearts (best bitch over seven years old), as well as Prettiest Princess, Proudest Prince and Most Patriotic Pooch (dogs in fancy dress).

Royalty is also the theme for the human fancy dress competition.

Today and tomorrow the Chatteris Community Archive will be putting on a Jubilee-themed exhibition of old photographs in the town’s library. Members of the public are being invited to take along their own royal or Jubilee snaps.

Tomorrow and Sunday there will be a full programme of events for all the family, including funfair rides, living history re-enactments, music and dance. They are followed tomorrow by the Party in the Park (6-11pm), where a string of young performers will bring a music festival feeling to the evening.

Among Sunday’s main events are the Big Lunch and a Festival of Music, including a performance by the Chatteris town brass band. Senior citizens will be offered lunch at reduced prices and there will be a Teddy Bears’ Picnic with free entertainment for children.

The Olympics are the inspiration for much of Monday’s programme. In the morning children will be able to compete in various races and athletics events including hurdles, javelin and long jump. They are being organised by qualified coaches arranged by Fenland District Council.

They will be followed in the afternoon by a tug-of-war and a spectacular It’s a Knockout competition.

The festival culminates on Monday night when a special beacon will be lit in the grounds of St Peter and St Paul’s Parish Church - part of the chain of thousands that will stretch right across the country.

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