Bear Essentials

PUBLISHED: 09:35 21 January 2008 | UPDATED: 08:18 02 June 2010

Pictures: STEVE WILLIAMS

Pictures: STEVE WILLIAMS

Two Wisbech area schools played a major part in one of Fenland s big annual festivals - the Straw Bear Festival at Whittlesey. Leverington and Murrow primary schools took part in the festival, which dates back to the 19th century. Originally one of the lo

Pictures: STEVE WILLIAMS

Two Wisbech area schools played a major part in one of Fenland's big annual festivals - the Straw Bear Festival at Whittlesey.

Leverington and Murrow primary schools took part in the festival, which dates back to the 19th century. Originally one of the locals dressed in straw danced from house to house in exchange for gifts, money, food or beer.

The tradition died out early in the 20th century but was resurrected by Whittlesea Society in1980. Since then it has grown to become a major event, attracting visitors from across the world.

This year's festival, held on Saturday and Sunday, was filmed by a crew from BBC Countryfile for screening later this year.

Pictures: STEVE WILLIAMS

Crowds lined the streets for Saturday's parade around Whittlesey town centre and the Straw Bear was burned next day to bring the festival to a close.

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