Thousands ‘Follow The Bear’ during Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival

Thousands flocked to ‘Follow the Bear’ for one of the most colourful traditions in Cambridgeshire this weekend.

Monday, 21st January 2019, 11:00 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:07 pm
Straw Bear Festival at Whittlesey 2019 with Morris Dancing in Market Street EMN-190119-121635009

The Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival was held in the town, with crowds gathering around the town to enjoy the spectacle.

The highlight of the weekend is the Saturday procession through Whittlesey, led by the straw bears themselves.

The parade also includes dozens of morris and molly dancing sides, dressed in colourful clothes and make up.

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Straw Bear Festival at Whittlesey 2019 with Morris Dancing in Market Street EMN-190119-121538009

Schools also join in the festivities, carrying banners and dressing up. After the parade, the dancers perform in various spots around the town.

The finale of the festival is on Sunday, with the burning of the straw bear costumes.

The original straw bear tradition dates back more than 100 years, when it was custom to dress someone in the town as the straw bear on the first Tuesday after Plough Monday (the first Monday after 12th night).

The tradition died off in the early 1900s - but was revived in 1980, and now hundreds of people take part, and thousands of people come to watch the event.

Straw Bear Festival at Whittlesey 2019 with Morris Dancing in Market Street EMN-190119-121921009
Straw Bear Festival at Whittlesey 2019 with Morris Dancing in Market Street EMN-190119-121837009
Straw Bear Festival at Whittlesey 2019 with Morris Dancing in Market Street EMN-190119-121932009
Straw Bear Festival at Whittlesey 2019 with Morris Dancing in Market Street EMN-190119-121550009
Straw Bear Festival at Whittlesey 2019 with Morris Dancing in Market Street EMN-190119-121943009
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Straw Bear Festival at Whittlesey 2019 with Morris Dancing in Market Street EMN-190119-121954009
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Straw Bear Festival at Whittlesey 2019 with Morris Dancing in Market Street EMN-190119-121719009
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Straw Bear Festival at Whittlesey 2019 with Morris Dancing in Market Street EMN-190119-122241009
Straw Bear Festival at Whittlesey 2019 with Morris Dancing in Market Street EMN-190119-122252009