A “Straw Bear” and dancers wearing an array of colours laced the streets of Whittlesey, as the Cambridgeshire town’s famous festival returned.
The Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival made a dramatic return over the weekend, following a two-year break due to the Covid pandemic.
The act of parading a Straw Bear through the area seems to date back to the 1880s, when the Tuesday following Plough Monday (the first Monday after Twelfth Night) would be marked by getting one of the members of the plough to dress in straw, hence the name, according to organisers.
The custom fell into decline towards the end of the 19th century, before being revived in 1980 by the Whittlesea Society.
This year’s event saw the star of the show excite attendees as various Straw Bears posed for photos and waved at the crowds of people hoping to catch a glimpse of the giant figures, who were accompanied by attendant keepers.
More than 250 dancers, musicians and performers from various parts of the British Isles also attended.
Many seemed to not mind the rain and dreary weather as the Bourne Borderers morris dancers filled the roads with music and light, as they carried out a performance wearing yellow and green frilly outfits, floral hats and green face paint.
Pig Dyke Molly Dancers showed off their impressive make-up skills and artistry, with one decorating her face to almost replicate a chess board and others sporting giant black and white bows and feathers.
Sticks moved up and down and game faces were activated as The Red Leicester Morris Men entertained locals.