101 places to go – Straw Bear Festival

Along with hosting the world’s most prestigious sporting events, the UK also runs a great line in strange traditional events.

In 2012 alone you can watch highly trained champions engage in herculean efforts of courage and sporting prowess to seize glory for their nation in the world’s biggest games, or you can watch a man navigate a peat bog in Wales armed with only a snorkel mask and a dream. It’s this diversity that makes the UK such a great destination for holidaymakers.

Now, we’re sure you’re all aware of the big sporting event taking place in London this year so we’ve chosen something a little more unique for our first recommended destination of 2012.

Of all the quirky historic British events we think the Straw Bear Festival is in the premier league. It may lack the cachet of Welly Wanging from Upperthong, or the infamy of Bog Snorkelling in Llanwrtyd Wells, but it’s no less strange and endearing.

The event takes place in Whittlesey, Camrbidgeshire each year and features one local covering himself in straw to give the appearance of a bear.  The straw bear then parades himself through the streets of the town accompanied by dancers and music. Following a series of events the bear is then burnt on the Sunday – after the costume has been taken off we might add!

Like most of these ancient cultural events, no one’s quite sure why it take places but we think that just adds to the fun! If you fancy uncovering the mystery of the Straw Bear then 2012’s event takes place from 13-15 January. Find more info on the event website.

Have you been the Straw Bear Festival in Whittlesey? Share your experiences in the comments below. If you fancy attending this year’s event, take a look at our featured cottages in the region.

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