Stamford set for double celebration

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Stamford is set for an historic double celebration this month - a unique conservation milestone and a four-day Georgian festival.

A packed Stamford Georgian Festival programme, which runs from September 21 to 24, is the perfect prelude to the 50th anniversary of the town’s award as the UK’s first conservation area.

The Stamford 50 anniversary has prompted events, celebrations, a national heritage conference and even its own poem from Stamford’s poet laureate Emma Cuddeford.

It comes just days after festival-goers will throng ancient streets that helped Stamford to snatch the conservation accolade from under the noses of larger towns such as Bath and York after the Civic Amenities Act set up conservation areas in 1967.

Georgian costumed figures will set the tone amidst themed markets and street entertainment – and even a ‘Bull Run’ re-enactment commemorating one of the town’s bloodiest traditions.

Leader of festival organiser South Kesteven District Council Matthew Lee (Con) said: “The days are ticking away now to the start of what promises to be an amazing weekend. Ticket sales are going really well, reflecting what a popular event this has become and I personally cannot wait to see Stamford in all its Georgian finery.”

Celebrated historian and TV presenter Dan Cruickshank launches the festival on Thursday (September 21) with, given Stamford’s conservation milestone, a topical talk on architecture. Sunday features everything from an afternoon Georgian tea dance to a choral evensong.

Other festival highlights include fun ghost walks, have-a-go Georgian dancing, drama, talks, music and horse and coach rides, while Stamford’s picturesque riverside Meadows hosts galloping horseback acrobats and militiamen drills.

The highlight will be the dazzling Illumnati event on Saturday evening.