Straw Bear revival that has lasted 35 years - in pictures

Straw Bear Festival, Whittlesey, 2009.
Straw Bear Festival, Whittlesey, 2009.
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Looking back: It is a tradition that dates back to the 19th century, disappeared early in the 20th century and took 70 years to return.

But town historian Brian Kell’s resurection of the quaint Whittlesea Straw Bear festival in 1980 is certainly going from strength to strength 35 years later.

And people have the chance to find out all about it this Saturday when Whittlesey town centre is taken over.

Back in January 1980 - as reported in the Peterborough Evening Telegraph – the streets were lined with people keen to get their first glimpse of the “Straw Bear” - Mr Kell in an outfit lined with straw - as he danced his way from Whittlesey Museum to the Market Place.

On that day there was entertainment from the Northampton and Rutland Morris men and a Stevenage Sword Dance team.

Now, the procession which snakes its way around the town now contains over 250 dancers, musicians and performers from various parts of the country performing traditional Molly, Morris, Clog and Sword dancing.

There is also American style Appalachian dancing, street performances and Mummers plays.... and plenty of resfreshment stops along the way.

Preview: Whittlesey gearing up for Straw Bear Festival this weekend