Weekend of singing, dancing, storytelling and parades at 35th Whittlesey Straw Bear Festival

Straw Bear parade 2013. Whittlesey. Picture: Steve Williams

Straw Bear parade 2013. Whittlesey. Picture: Steve Williams - Credit: Archant

The unique spectacle of traditional dancing, music and theatre that makes up Whittlesey’s Straw Bear festival returns for the 35th annual show this weekend.

Straw Bear parade 2013. Whittlesey. Picture: Steve Williams

Straw Bear parade 2013. Whittlesey. Picture: Steve Williams - Credit: Archant

Concerts, children’s workshops, storytelling and barn dances make up just some of the entertainment of the festival, which starts on Friday evening.

But the highlight is Saturday’s parade, which will feature more than 300 performers and tours the town from 10.30am.

Dance teams from across the region, including morris men and molly dancers, will perform at various locations along the route alongside the straw bears as they are led through the town.

The parade is followed by a barn dance and a Cajun dance in the evening, before the festival closes on Sunday with the traditional burning of the bear at Sir Harry Smith Community College.


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This year’s festival will be the last under the directorship of Paul Cornell.

He said: “It seems like we have just finished clearing up after Straw Bear 2013 and her we are at the next one!

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“There are not many changes this year, just a few tweaks here and there, but it will be business as usual for the dancers, crowds and bears, hopefully with a good day weather-wise.

“Is it a job I shall miss? Yes, greatly, as it is a wonderful feeling to see the town full of dancers and musicians and people enjoying themselves and knowing that I have helped to make it all happen.

“I would like to thank all the people involved in the running of the festival because without the help of the many organisations and volunteers the festival could not go ahead.”

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