Thousands enjoy sights and sounds of Whittlesea Straw Bear

A unique tradition was brought to life in Whittlesey as thousands of people gathered for the annual Straw Bear Festival.

Monday, 15th January 2018, 4:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th January 2018, 12:27 pm
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. Straw Bear leads the parade EMN-180113-180253009

The festival sees dozens of molly and morris dancing groups performing across the town, while crowds gather to watch a colourful parade through the centre of Whittlesey.

This year was the 39th Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival, and saw visitors from across the country - and some from further afield - arrive in the fens to take part and watch the traditional event.

The focal point of the parade is the Straw Bear itself - and this year there were three bears marching and dancing through the town.

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Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. Red Leicester Morris EMN-180113-175956009

Alongside the country dancing and the parade, there were also other performing acts, including poetry, acoustic music and story-telling sessions.

Musical acts included BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards nominee Luke Jackson, Vicki Swann and Jonny Dyer.

Saturday finished with the traditional barn dance at Sir Harry Smith Community College, before the burning of the bear on Sunday, nd the Plough Service at St Mary’s Church.

Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. Pig Dyke Molly EMN-180113-180029009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. Straw Bear leading the parade from Manor Leisure Centre to the Town Centre. EMN-180113-180040009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. EMN-180113-175911009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. EMN-180113-180051009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. EMN-180113-180102009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. EMN-180113-180157009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. EMN-180113-180208009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. Straw Bear leads the parade EMN-180113-180242009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. EMN-180113-180315009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. EMN-180113-180337009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. Red Leicester Morris EMN-180113-175956009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. Pig Dyke Molly EMN-180113-180029009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. Straw Bear leading the parade from Manor Leisure Centre to the Town Centre. EMN-180113-180040009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. EMN-180113-175911009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. EMN-180113-180051009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. EMN-180113-180102009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. EMN-180113-180157009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. EMN-180113-180208009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. Straw Bear leads the parade EMN-180113-180242009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. EMN-180113-180315009
Straw Bear Festival 2018 at Whittlesey. EMN-180113-180337009