2011 is the year of the Cultural Olympiad, a year ahead of the Olympic Games in London. Shropshire Council has won an Inspire Mark for its innovative project, celebrating the Shropshire Olympian Festival of 1864, which William Penny Brookes brought to the Quarry, Shrewsbury. The 2011 Festival will be held in the Quarry on JUNE 17, 18 and 19.
Cllr Steve Charmley, portfolio holder for Culture & Leisure, said “We are delighted to have received support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and recognition from the London 2012 Inspire Mark Programme to help our communities learn about their own cultural heritage and Shropshire’s place in the evolution of the Olympic movement”.
Over three days in June, we shall be celebrating this event, which was an important milestone in the long road to London 2012, in a sporting and cultural jamboree. On Friday June 17 Primary Schools from all over Shropshire will compete in the kinds of athletic events, which were held in 1864, plus some others just for fun. There will also be exhibitions and competitions in poetry, painting, dancing and story-telling.
On Saturday we collaborate with the Shrewsbury Carnival, who have agreed to adopt a Victorian theme for this year. They will bring their many participants and fans to a grand procession round the town, followed by fun and games in the Quarry. We shall have morris dancing in the Square and Victorian tennis and cricket matches nearby. In the evening there will be Old Time Music Hall at Theatre Severn, followed by a Grand Illumination of the river and Quarry.
On Sunday we have the Great Victorian Picnic, when you are invited to dress up and bring a cold collation to the Quarry, where a prize will be offered to the most pleasing. A Victorian regatta and more sports and games for all-comers will be succeeded by the Grand Finale. Over the three days there will be a Victorian funfair, vignettes of Victorian life and superb artistes entertaining the crowd with all manner of clever and comic shows.
We are looking for teams from all over Shropshire to compete in trials of strength like the Tug of War, less serious obstacle races and artistic endeavours like singing and dancing. Individuals may compete in races and also in water colours, reciting poetry and knitting. Some places may wish to hold heats first, as obviously places in the sporting competitions will be limited. Guidance will be given on appropriate Victorian style costume.
A full prospectus will be issued in September. Workshops in different parts of the county will stimulate interest and assist in different ways of participation. How would people in your area like to take part in this great county festival? What assistance might your LJC be able to give them? Who will be your liaison person? Please contact Sarah Rollason on 01743 252305 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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