Straw Bear 2020 proves to be as popular as ever with thousands packing Whittlesey for the annual festival of music and Morris

PUBLISHED: 13:06 22 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:17 22 January 2020

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Archant

Health and safety finally caught up with the straw bear at Sunday's burning ceremony.

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Back in the days, recalled Richard Exton in the programme notes, "we could just stand around a heap of burning straw.

"You could help yourself to a few burnt ears at the end. Did anyone get burnt?"

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

In 2020, however, health and safety decried that no one should get close to the burning ceremony - and new for this year the instruction, delivered loudly and clearly, of an age restriction on who could stand where to watch the bear burn.

Few cared, however, for the concluding moments of the festival were as magical, entertaining and popular as ever.

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

It began with a packed Ivy Leaf concert on Friday, moved onto Whittlesey rammed for the Saturday parades and Morris dancing, enlivened by another full house for the evening barn dance before the pace slowed at Sir Harry Smith College on Sunday for two hours of dancing prior to the burning ceremony.

Not only did the Morris dancers come from across the country but so did the bear admirers. As the festival grows in popularity so do the number of visitors putting it on their 'must do' list for January.

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Intricate sword dancing mingled with the joys of Morris across multiple venues as pubs, bars and clubs hosted the vast array of performers who commit each year to straw bear.

The beer flowed for sure but the atmosphere was lively, enriching and well natured; police must have wished every event, anywhere, would pass so peacefully.

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

And it was an occasion for great mysteries of our time to be solved.

"Why do you hit sticks? " inquired one breathless visitor rushing up to one of Peterborough Morris' finest. "To make a nice sound" came the response, though whether he intended a question mark or exclamation mark was never revealed.

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

This was the 41st straw bear festival since it was revived in 1980. Tony Sennett, who has been part of straw bear since 1994 when he first donned a junior costume aged 10, summed it up in interview with the BBC.

"When you get inside that costume and that head comes down, your whole persona changes, your whole being changes into something completely different," he said.

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTERStraw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER Straw Bear 2020: The sights and sounds of Whittlesey Straw Bear. Thousands flocked to the town for this annual three day extravaganza of music and Morris. Picture; IAN CARTER

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