Celebrations to mark St George's Day

TONY COOPER Wymondham stages a three-day celebration; we also have details of events at Castle Acre Priory, Fakenham, Beccles, Blo' Norton, Oxburgh Hall, Thurton, Bury St Edmunds, Norwich Puppet Theatre and Three Holes.


The local moves to make the most of St George's Day were first begun in Wymondham a few years ago and the town is still in the forefront of publicity efforts. The historic south Norfolk market town's celebrations kicks off Friday, Friday, with a festival of English food and wine at the Central Hall at 8pm. Tickets £5 from Halcyon Days or on 01953 601271.

And on St George's Day itself, Saturday, the market place will see all kinds of activity in the morning starting at 10am with the arrival of St George and the launch and singing of a new anthem to him at 10.30am. A host of other activities will be held in the Baptist Church and the Central Hall. And the grand dragon parade, breathing fire and life into the weekend, sets off from Back Lane at 12.30pm journeying on to the market place. A showcase of new plays by local writers will take place at the Central Hall on Saturday at 7.45pm. Tickets £7.50 (includes ploughman's supper) from Geo Reeve or 01953 605434.

And on Sunday, an antiques and collectors' fair will be held in the same venue from 10am to 4.30pm organised by the Wymondham Rotary Club. Admission to this event is free.

On Saturday and Sunday there's a chance for all young dragon hunters to show their skills at Castle Acre Priory near Swaffham. English Heritage is inviting you to mark St George's Day by finding the dragons hidden across the grounds of the lovely historic site. Eight fire-breathing creatures are lurking in the undergrowth, but if you capture them all, then the name of their slayer will be revealed. The hunts take place from 10am-5pm both days, and there's a prize for every child. Tickets cost £2.20 per child, £4.30 adults, £3.20 concs and £10.80 for family tickets. There's no charge for English Heritage members. While you're there, try out the family activity sheets, giant traditional games or just wander around and enjoy the lovely Nar valley setting.

Meanwhile, at Fakenham, a St George's Day Fayre will take place at the parish church and St Peter's Garden Saturday from 9.30am to 2pm. There will be plenty of stalls, the chance to tour the church tower, refreshments and morris dancers. There is an auction at 1pm too.

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At Beccles there will be a St George's Day Street Market in the town centre Saturday from 10am to 3pm.

Blo' Norton village hall hosts a St George's Day brunch from 10.30am Saturday with full English breakfast and the chance to see the Hoxne Hundred morris dancing side in action at noon. Tickets £2.50: 01953 681329 or 681495.

St George's Day Frolics at Heydon, near Aylsham, take place on the village green at noon and include tug-o'-war, morris dancers and barbecue.

Celebrate St George's Day by making knights' helmets or dragon masks in a Knights and Dragons session at Oxburgh Hall, Oxborough, near Swaffham. There's also a children's trail through the orchard and (after 1pm) a trail through the house. It runs from 11am to 4pm, with normal admission to the National Trust property applying.

At Thurton, the St George's Day celebrations are taking place – appropriately enough – in front of the George and Dragon pub Saturday. From 10am to 4pm activities will include stalls, children's activities, fancy dress and car boot sale (bookings: 01508 480477). The event will aid St Ethelbert's Church.

At Moyse's Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds from 11am to 1pm a St George and the Dragon family workshop will be taking place. Listen to the story of how St George beat the horrible dragon, and then make your own knight's helmet or dragon. It costs £5 per child, with accompanying adults free. Under-sevens must be accompanied. Bookings 01284 706183.

Norwich Puppet Theatre (based in the old church of St James', Whitefriars) has a puppet-making workshop Saturday from 10.30-noon, giving you the chance to make – you've guessed it – a dragon. It costs £6: 01603 629921.

Meanwhile, at Three Holes, near Wisbech, celebrations are running from 11am to 11pm Saturday, including medieval fancy dress (2pm), a car boot (01945 772324/ 773418), displays, traditional funfair, stalls and a family disco in the evening (£5 adults, £2 under-14s).

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