A VILLAGE will celebrate the summer with a feast of fun and games this week – just as it has done for the last 550 years.
Greatham village, on the edge of Hartlepool, has held celebrations at this time since the 15th Century to help bring the community together.
This summer’s Greatham Feast starts tomorrow and features four packed days of events.
Organisers say the event is popular with village ex-pats who return to Greatham just for the feast.
Volunteers have been hard at work over the previous months to make sure everything goes smoothly.
The festivities kick off in the afternoon with a children’s five-a-side football match.
Another popular event is the village baby show when proud mums show off their little angels.
The main event takes place on Saturday afternoon when everyone descends on the village green after a grand fancy dress parade.
Sonya Hepple, chairman of Greatham Feast Committee, said: “People come from far afield. Even people that have left the village years ago always come back. I only see them once a year.
“A lot of it is weather dependant. If we can get nice weather for Saturday it would be brilliant.”
Highlights will include performances by Hartlepool’s Northern School of Music, Ruff Diamond hip-hop troupe and Val Armstrong School of Dance.
The green will be lined with amusements and stalls and a barbecue will feed the hungry visitors.
On the night, the green will host a local live band.
According to historians, King Henry VI granted a weekly market to Greatham in 1444 with fairs and feasts of St George and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in April and September.
The markets and fairs did not prosper but an annual feast was held on St John the Baptist’s Day in late June.
More volunteers are needed to help out at feast events.
If you can help contact Sonya Hepple on (01429) 871022
Greatham Feast programme of events:
5pm, Children’s five-a-side football, Greatham Sports Field, Station Road;
8.30pm, Ladies and Gents darts, The Hope and Anchor, High Street;
9pm (approximately), Mixed pairs darts, The Hope and Anchor.
10am, Parish church service at St John the Baptist, West Row;
11.15am, Baby show, Greatham Community Centre, Front Street;
4pm, Pensioners’ tea, Greatham Community Centre;
8pm, Dominoes and cribbage at The Bull and Dog, High Street, Followed by Yard of Ale challenge and barbecue at The Smiths Arms, High Street.
11am, Children’s treasure hunt on The Green;
1pm, Fancy dress parade and decorated bikes from The Smiths Arms to The Green.
2pm, Family afternoon including family sports events and children’s tea on The Green.