Houghton Feast 2021: Community gathers for opening ceremony as ‘hugely missed’ event returns

The popular event is back after being held online last year because of the pandemic.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 11:25 pm

The annual Houghton Feast kicked off once again on Friday, October 8 with a special opening ceremony in Houghton’s The Broadway.

Hundreds gathered to watch the show, as crowds were treated to live performances by Houghton Pipe Band, Zazz dancers, Houghton Area Youth Brass Band, and The Houghton Feast Children’s Choir.

The opening ceremony culminated in a minute’s applause for the NHS, followed by the switching on of the Houghton Feast Illuminations by the Right Worshipful, the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Henry Trueman.

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Stilt walkers at The Houghton Feast 2021 opening ceremony on The Broadway.

Cllr Trueman said: “What’s made it tonight is to see all of the people out, but particularly the young people.

"The choir was fantastic, the dancing was fantastic, the pipe band was absolutely brilliant.”

Last year saw a change to the event, with regulations surrounding the Covid pandemic meaning organisers were forced to try online events.

This saw a virtual walk through the town, a family quiz and live streamed events throughout the week including the opening ceremony.

The Mayor of Sunderland Councillor. Henry Trueman switching on the lights at The Houghton Feast 2021 opening ceremony.

People attending the opening ceremony on Friday have said the feast has been missed.

Lifelong Houghton resident Jill Gray, 51, said: "Just the fact the community is getting together.

"The fair ground is always exciting. The kids love it. It’s just nice to see everybody together enjoying the tradition.

"I’ve lived in Houghton all my life, so it’s always exciting when Houghton Feast comes around, doesn’t matter how old you are.”

The Houghton-le-Spring Pipe Band at The Houghton Feast 2021 opening ceremony.

Kathleen Chisholm, 57, who attends the feast every year, said: "It was just a huge miss, because it’s a tradition every year.

Her granddaughter Phoebe Young, 7, added: "I’m ready for the rides.”

Jen Rainey, 71, was attending the opening ceremony with her family.

She said: “I love the atmosphere of it.

Lifelong Houghton resident Jill Gray.

"I love when the lights get switched on, but I absolutely love the street parade.”

Her grandson, George Nell, 9, said: “I really enjoy the feast. I have missed the band and the backpipes.”

The celebrations will end on Sunday, October 17, with morning worship at the Methodist Church on Mautland Street.

The full programme of events is available through the event’s website.

Read More

Read More
10 photos from Houghton Feast over the years - from the parade to the bike race
Kathleen Chisholm has said she attends the event every year.

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Jen Rainey, 71, with her grandson George Nell, 9.