Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cotswolds Olimpicks and Scuttlebrook Wake

Chipping Campden has hosted the Costwolds Olimpicks and Scuttlebrook Wake for the last 400 hundred years originating in 1612.

The weekend events begin on Friday with competitions such as shin kicking, tug of war, etc. that date back hundreds of years.  They are held on Dover's Hill about a mile from the heart of Chipping Campden.  The evening culminates with fireworks, bonfire and parade into town.  The parade, led by a local band, was comprised of spectators carrying lit torches down the hill and into the town square where the party continued until midnight with a band and dancing.  We didn't get to see the competitions but the parade ended right by our cottage.  Here are the partygoers with their torches and the local police managing the crowd.

The next day the festivities continued with the Scuttlebrook Wake.  First there was the parade.  It included a band, the judges, the Morris dancers, the Queen and her Court, costumed locals and homemade floats.  This is a wonderful rural community affair that is great fun!

Here's the band leading the parade.

Here come the judges!

Here are the Morris Men Dancers pulling the Queen and her Court
led by the Joker and Horseman.

Here is the Queen and her Court!

Then came the costumed locals!

Followed by the homemade floats!

I especially liked this one the "Volunteer Drunkards Because We're Worth It!"

Then it was time for the judging in the town square.  Homemade costumes are judged in each age group.  Here we have some of the winners!

The costume judging was followed by dancing!  First were the children from St. Catherine's school who danced a few of the fun olde Engish dances that have been done for centuries.  (The kind we only see in period movies!)

Next came the Maypole dancers from St. James school.  I have to admit I have never seen an actual maypole dance in my life, have always been curious and now I know (and probably couldn't do it!)

Then it was time for the big boys, the Morris Men Dancers.  The tradition is passed down from father to son.  Their uniform includes bells that jingle when they move and they dance with scarves and sticks to centuries old tunes.  They are led by the Joker and his sidekick the Horseman.

And here's the littlest Morris Man, all dressed up in his Daddy's arms representing the next generation!

After the dancing the fun fair opened which is similar to our traveling carnivals.  There were rides and games for the kids, stuffed animals and cotton candy.
This was a wonderful community event.  No expensive floats or costumes, no excessive showy displays.  Just wonderful, traditional, family fun!!

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