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Worstead Festival gets off to a spectacular start, with even bigger crowds expected for Sunday

PUBLISHED: 18:34 27 July 2019 | UPDATED: 23:25 27 July 2019

Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019

Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Archant 2019

In spite of grey skies and showers, Worstead Festival got off to a spectacular start on Saturday, with a parade led by a giant-sized ram puppet created by children at the village primary school kicking off the annual event in style.

Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Now in its 54th year, the two-day celebration of rural life, which was first held to raise cash for urgently-needed repairs to Worstead Church, raises thousands for local good causes, with past beneficiaries ranging from North Walsham playpark and Worstead Daycare Centre, to the village cricket club, and skateparks at North Walsham and Stalham.

With a packed programme of events for all the family, this year's event boasts arena attractions ranging from sheep shearing and terrier racing, to medieval re-enactments and falconry and heavy horse displays.

Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Saturday's top notch music line-up on the festival's lorry stage featured Norfolk bands including DAS Fenster an the Alibis, while cooking enthusiasts were in for a culinary treat with demonstrations from chefs including Richard Bainbridge, of Benedicts, Norwich, and Charlie Hodson, of Channel 4's Sunday Brunch, who appeared on stage alongside artist Ruddy Muddy, who gained fame for creating mud portraits of celebrities on the backs of vans.

Other festival attractions include a Grown in Norfolk produce show, charity stalls, a Made in Worstead exhibition by local artists and craftspeople, street food, and classic cars, vintage tractors and military vehicles.

Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

A non-stop line-up of entertainment for youngsters is also on offer, with workshops run by eco arts group Willow Phoenix, fairground rides and a games and activities tent run by members of Worstead Primary School Friends group, while fringe attractions include music at Worstead Church and the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Festival trustee and farmers' market organiser Sam Outing said that festival-goers had ignored the wet weather, donned wellies and raincoats and turned out in large numbers on the opening day.

Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

"The farmers' market and cookery theatre were packed, stall holders have sold a huge chunk of their stock and I think people have had a really great day," he said.

With better weather forecast for Sunday, organisers were hoping for an even bigger turnout tomorrow, Mr Outing added.

Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

"One of the bonuses of Worstead is that, because it's such an historic event, we are in people's calendars and I think that it's wonderful for us to be involved in Norfolk Day, which I think has helped attract people who haven't been before."

Worstead Festival continues on Sunday from 10am-6pm. For a full programme, visit the festival Facebook page or www.worsteadfestival.org

Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2019Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2019

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