Countdown is on for third festival

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Stamford’s third Georgian Festival is now just days away, with final preparations being made for a superb weekend’s entertainment.

The countdown is on to TV presenter and art historian Dan Cruickshank’s flagship opening event with his talk at Stamford Endowed School at 8pm on Thursday, September 21.

Street markets have attracted more than 90 traders and, with shows, town walks, talks, street theatre and a strong Jane Austen theme throughout, the festival is expected to bring thousands of visitors to the town.

Free performances on The Meadows include an invitation to ‘ride’ the Stamford bull on a bucking bull ride!

A special festival ‘Grand Tour’ quiz will encourage festival-goers to visit places of interest and vote for their favourite Georgian themed shop window along the way, confirmed SKDC Leader Coun Matthew Lee.

He said: “There are strong heritage and visitor attraction reasons why we stage festivals like this, but there is also a very strong economic argument for organising events. We want to make sure that the town benefits.

“A survey conducted during the last festival in 2015 calculated that the festival delivered a £1m economic bonus to the Stamford area. It showed that 70% of all visitors were drawn specifically by the festival, 60% of whom were from outside Stamford.

“We also found that 70% of businesses increased turnover or found new customers and we want the same thing to happen again.  Visitors love the variety and quality of our shops and town centre. They spend money in the town, stay overnight and take away amazing memories.”

The Grand Tour features 20 locations, with questions to inform and entertain, such as spotting the animal’s head on one of the charity shops in St Paul’s Street and finding the bookshop with a mock Tudor facade.

Tour-goers can win a £50 first prize for the first correct entry drawn after the closing date. There is also a £50 prize for the shop whose themed window receives the most votes via the quiz, with both prizes donated by the Federation of Small Businesses.

Tour forms can be collected from Stamford Arts Centre or downloaded from the festival website www.
stamfordgeorgianfestival.co.uk

Sell-out events include the Georgian Costume Ball, Stamford Walking Tours, the Gin Whore drinks tasting show and Saturday’s performance of Public Toilette on the etiquette of Georgian fashion, with a few places left for the Sunday morning show.

Most of the historic mail coach rides around Burghley Park are also fully booked but there are places available on the Omnibus horse-drawn carriage rides around town.

Events to catch are:

Friday:

Saving Lincolnshire’s Georgian Heritage, a fascinating talk by Liz Bates, chief executive of Heritage Lincolnshire. Arts Centre Theatre. 2pm. £4.50.

Saturday:

Fan Talk and Demonstration explores fan history from the 18th Century. Arts Centre Theatre. Midday. £4.50.

Jane Austen’s Gardens with The Historic Gardener. Who was the gardening guru of the Regency period? Endowed School Chapel. St Paul’s Street. 1pm. £4.50.

‘A Life in Chains’ an interactive and fun children’s workshop exploring the slave trade. Stamford Town Hall. 2pm. £4.50.

Mad King George III takes centre stage with Royal historian Catherine Curzon. Endowed School Chapel. St Paul’s Street. 2.30pm. £4.50.

On Sunday:

Georgian children’s fashions talk with costumier Lindsey Holmes. Arts Centre Ballroom. 12.30pm. £4.50.

Afternoon Tea Dance – watch or join in with Regency Re-jigged. Art Centre Ballroom 3pm – 4.30pm. £8.50.

60 Glorious Years! Our Master of Ceremonies celebrates the years of the ‘mad king’s’ reign. Browne’s Hospital. 3pm. £3.

Sherry and Tripe join Love and War for a look at how people lived during a period of almost constant conflict with the French by author Peter Youds. Arts Centre Ballroom. 11am. £4.50.

l For full information and to book tickets, go to www.stamfordgeorgianfestival.co.uk or Stamford Arts Centre box office on 01780 763203.