Karen Bethell, Reporter
Saturday, July 5, 2014
Drizzle punctuated by downpours dominated the opening of Sheringham’s 21st annual “Potty” morris dancing festival, which kicked off in the town centre this morning.
More than 300 dancers and musicians paraded from the seafront RNLI car park, protecting their costumes and instruments from the weather with plastic capes and umbrellas.
But, according to festival organisers Steve and Eileen Brown, the festival’s wet start failed to dampen spirits, with crowds turning out in force to watch.
“The weather has been a disappointment so far, but we have been really pleased with the turnout and we haven’t had any major hiccups,” Mrs Brown said.
Thirty six sides from all over the country descended on the town on Friday, with most camping out on Sheringham High School playing fields or staying with local families.
Dancers included groups from Suffolk, Bedfordshire, Leicestershire and Yorkshire, with costumes ranging from Norfolk side Ouse Washers Molly’s prom gowns and boots and Kent side Green Dragon Morris’s feathered hats and green faces, to the black faces with feathered top hat and tails sported by festival regulars, Northamptonshire side the Witchmen.
Mrs Brown, who has be co-organiser of the festival since 2008, added that this year’s event marked a sad day for the Lobster Potties side, which would be forced to disband after more than 25 years of dancing in the town.
“Although we have tried and tried, we haven’t been able to attract any new dancers, we are down to six and we have no musicians whatsoever,” she explained.
“It is a shame, but whatever happens, we will carry on organising the festival, everybody just wants to be part of it and it creates a wonderful atmosphere in Sheringham.”
Sheringham Potty Festival continues this evening with music in the Crown, Lobster, Robin Hood and Two Lifeboats pubs, as well as a performance by the Ugly Dog Skiffle Band at 8pm at the main arena on Lifeboat Plain. Tomorrow’s programme will see dancers perform on Lifeboat Plain and near the town clock from 10.30am – 2.30pm.