History brought to life at Georgian Festival

Students at New College Stamford making final preparations for the street theatre re-enactment of the Bull Run at Stamford Georgian Festival.'Photo: MSMP250913-013ow

Students at New College Stamford making final preparations for the street theatre re-enactment of the Bull Run at Stamford Georgian Festival.'Photo: MSMP250913-013ow

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The planning is over, the costumes are ready and the fun is set to begin on what should be a bonanza of a weekend at the Stamford Georgian Festival.

Thousands of people are expected to visit the town for the event, which has been organised by South Kesteven District Council.

The festival celebrates the town’s rich heritage between 1714 and 1830 and includes talks, shows, concerts and activities.

Organisers are expecting thousands of people to visit over the weekend.

The fun begins at 5pm this afternoon with a launch event at Stamford Arts Centre. But one of the weekend highlights will undoubtedly be tomorrow’s bull run.

New College Stamford students will parade through the town wearing huge puppet costumes created by carnival specialists Shademakers. They will bring back to life a tradition that ran for 700 years but was last seen in the town in 1839.

The centrepiece of the parade is the model bull which will be larger than the real life animal.

Shademakers director Paul McLaren said it was an honour to have worked on the event.

He added: “It’s very important to us not only to create the image but also to use the back story in our costumes.

“This was a brutal event but it was part of people’s lives. It’s great to be able to use these references from the past to recreate the tradition.”

The Bull Run will begin at Stamford Arts Centre at 3.30pm. From there the huge wooden bull sculpture will be dragged up Maiden Lane, along High Street, through Red Lion Square and on to The Meadows.

The bull has been covered in paper plates decorated by Stamford primary school pupils, who will meet it on The Meadows.

The run will close with a performance including the Army’s Coldstream Guards, morris men and college students. And for the grand finale the bull itself will be set alight.

Brontë White, 16, is one of the students taking part.

She said: “We’ve never done anything with puppets as big as this. It’s really fun to do and I’m sure everyone who is coming to the festival will love it.

“It’s going to be magical.”

The town will be full of costumed performers throughout the weekend. Stilt walkers, mime artists and jugglers will wander through a craft fair and street market in High Street, Ironmonger Street and Broad Street tomorrow.

Town centre traders are also getting in on the action and many will be holding special events for customers.

The Wool Room in Star Lane will give visitors the chance to spin real wool fibre in store. And staff will join in the costume fun by dressing up as sheep.

Georgian tales can be heard at Stamford Arts Centre on Sunday as Greenwood Quire mixes songs from the period with ditties by authors such as Thomas Hardy.

The usual orchestra instruments will be accompanied by Stuart Bower on the serpent - an instrument which often provided the bass line for Georgian singers.

Visit our What’s On section for full event listings.