Tag Archives: Quirky Events

Quirky Event of the Week: Brixham Pirate and Shanty Festival

Are you going to Britain this weekend and looking for something quirky to fill your calendar with? Look no further, because this weekend the record-breaking Brixham Pirate and Shanty Festival returns for another year of “seafarin’ shenanigans and swashbuckling skulduggery” in Brixham, Devon.

Brixham is an old fishing village with beautiful settings on the south coast of England. It’s fishing port is famous for it’s maritime history, beautiful lighthouse and limestone cliffs.

With English Galleon Golden Hind as a backdrop, the old harbour turns into a crazy Caribbean-themed festival this weekend. There will be activities for pirates of all ages with sword fights, Caribbean food stands, sea battles and “talk-like-a-pirate” workshops. You will also get the chance to meet the Captain Jack Sparrow look-alike Jonty Depp or participate in a torchlit procession and much more. But my personal tip is to go see the “Aarrgh Factor” – a sea shanty and folk music competition with both local and international participants.

The World Record Attempt
Last year the Brixham Buccaneers broke the Guinness World Record with most pirates gathered in one place – 1,469 pirates to be exact. Unfortunately the Americans broke the record again, so now the pirates of Brixham wants revenge. If you want to help break the record, find information about how to enter here.

If you just want a truly fun weekend filled with quirky piraty activities, then put on your eye patch, bring your sword and come to Brixham between the 30th of April and 3rd of May.

Find out more about the festival or read the whole festival programme.

For more information about The English Riviera visit www.englishriviera.co.uk


– Towe a.k.a. Lady Scallywag



Filed under Attractions & Culture, England, For families, News

Quirky Event of the week: Bottle Kicking and Hare Pie Scramble

Every year, on Easter Monday, a hare pie is baked in Hallaton Village and then paraded in a procession from the Fox Inn to St Michael’s Church. At the church, the pie is sliced, blessed and distributed to the people of Hallaton.

This custom started in 1770, when the Rector of Hallaton was given a piece of land on the condition that he provided two hare pies, two dozen loaves of bread and a quantity of ale, which had to be scrambled for in public. Although, the earliest records of this event dates back to the 1800th Century, there are some suggestions saying it started well before the Christian Era.

The Bottle Kicking Match
Behind the pie in the procession, are the three bottles that are used for the Bottle Kicking Match, that start immediately after the distribution of the pie. This tradition is said to have started during one of the scrambles, when the nearby town of Medbourne, came to steal some of the food and drinks being distributed. A fight emerged, which then became the tradition of the games played today.

The ‘bottles’, that are actually two wooden kegs containing beer and one keg that has been coloured white and black, gets kicked and man-handled by the competing teams from Hallaton and nearby Medbourne, in an attempt to get them across to respective goals, that are a whole mile (1,6km) apart. This makes the contest really tough, since the teams have to get the kegs across several hedges, roads, ditches and even barbed wire to reach their goal.

 If you want to see the hare pie procession and the two teams fight for some barrels of ale, visit Hallaton in Leicestershire on Easter Monday (5th of April, 2010). The procession usually kicks off at around 10am.


– Towe –

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Quirky Event of the Week: World Pooh Sticks Championship

When A.A. Milne wrote the famous book The House at Pooh Corner , I don’t think he foresaw the impact it would have on the small town of Little Wittenham in Oxfordshire. In the book, Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin drops a handful of sticks from a bridge into the stream beneath and rushes to the other side to see which stick comes out first.

In reality, this game has been a tradition in Little Wittenham since 1983, when the first World Pooh Sticks Championship was arranged by the Lock Keeper at Day’s Lock as a way to raise money to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Today, the event is held by the Rotary Club of Oxford Spires and attracts people of all ages every year.

If you want to compete in the championship, please enter the race here. If you just want to see this quirky event, go to Day’s Lock just outside Little Wittenham on 28th of March. The team races start at 11.00am and the individual/family races at 11.30am. For further information, please visit the website of the event.

– Towe –

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Quirky Event of the Week: Olney Pancake Race

Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday as it is also called, is the day before lent which usually involves a lot of pastry eating in many Christian countries. In Sweden they eat Semlor, in Denmark it’s Fastelavnsboller  and in the UK they eat Pancakes. But in the little town of Olney in North Buckinghamshire, Pancake Day is a little bit different. Because every year, they organize a Pancake Race where local ladies dress up in traditional housewife attire and run with a frying pan through the streets of Olney. The runners start outside The Bull on Olney Market Place and then run down to the parish church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Church Lane. After the church warden has rung the “Pancake Bell” the runners need to toss the pancake in the pan and the winner have to toss it again at the finish. After the run, everyone joins in for a Shriving Service in the Parish Church.

The race has been run since 1445. But since 1950, the event has become international. At the same time as the race in Olney, the town of Liberal, Kansas in the US organizes the same race. After finish, a transatlantic call is made between Liberal and Olney, and when times have been compared, the international winner is declared.

If you want to see the housewives of Olney run through the streets with frying pans, you should head to Olney on the 16 February. The race starts at 11.55am, but from 10.30am you can take part in some family entertainment to warm up before the race. 

Please visit Olneys website for more information on the event and how to get there.  For things to do in nearby Northamptonshire, click here.  

– Towe –

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New series: Quirky Event of the week 2010

As many of you may know, we’ve had a feature called “Team of the week”, which basically meant that we every week posted some information and images on one team from the Premier League. This ended with Stoke being the last team of the week, the day after Christmas.

So what do we do now, we thought, grinding our teeth and ripping out our hair… Well, we said – Why not do a new series of the week? But this time , let’s do a “Quirky Event of the week”. This feature will not be every week. There may be many quirky events in the UK, but they are not evenly spread out across the weeks. So you simply have to put up with us doing as we please in this matter. And now that we’ve solved that little issue, let’s present the first quirky event of the year:


So, what is this then, you might ask. Well, every year on the first Monday after the 3rd of February, the Mayor of the town of St Ives, through out a silver ball from the wall of the Parish Church. Once the ball is caught by a member of the crowd, the game is on. The contenders then compete for the ball through the beaches and streets of St Ives. The winner is the one that can take the ball to the Mayor on the strike of noon at the Guildhall. When the winner has received the reward of five shillings, the local councilors then throw pennies down from the balcony of the Guildhall for the children below to collect.

Do you want to compete for the silver ball? Then visit St Ives on the 8th of February. For more information, check out Visit Cornwalls website.

– Towe –

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Cheese Rolling

I’ve never tried this myself but thought I’d share this odd happening…

Cheese Rolling is held every second Bank Holiday in May. Hundreds of people gather to watch this quirky, annual event, which dates back to medieval times. The race starts with the master of ceremonies rolling a 4kg Double Gloucester cheese down the hill. Dozens of competitors run, roll and somersault down the hill after it. It’s impossible not to fall over due to the rough uneven slope with a 1:2 gradient. The winners take home the cheeses as well as a few cuts and bruises.

To find out more about quirky Britain, check out our Quirky Events Diary 2009.


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