Dancers from across the country set to descend on Sheringham for the annual Potty Morris and Folk Festival
The streets of Sheringham will be echoing with the sound of clashing sticks and clattering clogs this weekend, when 40 morris dancing sides from all over the country will descend on the town for the annual Potty Morris and Folk Festival.
The event was first held 24 years ago, when a group of morris dancing friends came up with the idea of inviting a handful of other sides to join them for a weekend of dance.
It has since grown year on year and is now one of the main events in the UK morris dancing calendar.
This year’s festival will feature sides ranging from Slack Ma Girdle, from Suffolk, and Sutton Masque, from Cambridgeshire, to Hertfordshire-based sides Wicket Brood and Pump House Clog.
Also entertaining crowds will be Norfolk sides Misfit Molly, Weavers Morris and Fiddlesticks, as well as festival regulars Briggate Morris, from West Yorkshire, and Northamptonshire side the Witchmen, who are easily distinguishable by their blackened faces and feathered hats.
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The fun kicks off with a parade from the RNLI car park on the Esplanade at 10am on Saturday, with dancers wending their way through the town to the main arena on Lifeboat Plain.
Dancing will continue throughout the day at ten town locations, including the Lobster pub, the Tyneside Club, the town clock and the walkway outside Sheringham’s Tesco store.
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Music from local songsters the Sheringham Shantymen will be on offer at the main arena during a 1pm-2pm lunch break, with mass dancing – when sides will dance together - kicking off at 3.30pm.
Evening entertainment will see the Shantymen and musicians from various morris sides entertaining crowds at local pubs including the Two Lifeboats and the Robin Hood, while Sunday’s programme, which runs from 10.30am-1.30pm, will include music and dancing at the main arena.
Festival chairman and founder member Clive Rayment, who is a former squire and dance teacher of the now defunct Lobster Potties morris dancing side, said the event promised to provide fun for all the family.
“There is always a lovely atmosphere and I think that it brings out the best of the town,” he added. “There are so many different dances, it’s colourful and it is something that is enjoyable for everyone.”