Houghton Feast to return with 'a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II'

Houghton Feast will pay tribute to the late Queen when it returns next week.

This year’s feast will run from Friday, October 7, to Friday, October 14, with a programme of events around the theme ‘a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II’.

What is happening on the opening night?

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It will begin with a spectacular community show on The Broadway celebrating her decades of service to the country, The Commonwealth and the Realms.

Among the community entertainment will be The Hetton Lyons Primary School choir, made up of children from Years 4,5 and 6, who have been busily rehearsing ahead of their appearance at the opening night.

Crowds will also be entertained by local groups including Houghton Pipe Band, Zazz dancers and Houghton Area Youth Brass Band. The first night will end with the Houghton Feast illuminations being switched on by the Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Alison Smith.

What is happening on Saturday, October 8?

The famous Ox Roast return on Saturday, October 8, when a whole roasted ox will be served up in sandwiches in the grounds of the Old Rectory, where Rector Bernard Gilpin roasted the first oxen to feed Houghton's poor in the 16th Century.

The Houghton-le-Spring Pipe band gets last year's Houghton Feast opening ceremony under way

The first slice will be carved by the Mayor and all proceeds from the sale of the tasty sandwiches will be used towards next year’s event.

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The popular community parade will make its way along Newbottle Street and The Broadway from 2pm the same day.

What else is happening during the week?

A fireworks spectacular will take place on Monday, October 10, at 7.30pm and can be viewed from the area surrounding Durham Road Playing Fields.

Crowds line the streets for Houghton Feast parade 2021
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Councillor Kevin Johnston, Chair of Houghton Feast Steering Committee, is delighted with this year’s line-up: "Houghton Feast is a fantastic event that has been bringing our community together for centuries, and I know so many people look forward to it every autumn,” he said.

"This year we have a schedule full of brilliant activities and performances including a spectacular opening night, community parade and the famous roasting of the ox."

Councillor Linda Williams, Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet Member for Vibrant City, added: "We are delighted that once again we have been able to work in partnership with local schools and community groups, which have all played a key role in the festival."

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Stilt walkers at last year's opening ceremony

Find out more about the Houghton Feast at www.mysunderland.co.uk/houghtonfeast and pre-purchase your sandwiches online at: www.oxsarnies.com

Spectators at the Houghton Feast 2021 opening ceremony
Mayor Coun Harry Trueman cuts the first slice from the roast ox at last year's feast
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Feast committee chairman Coun Kevin Johnston with members of the Hetton Lyons Primary School choir,