The historic Houghton Feast returns next week with ten days of community celebrations.
A full programme of activities, events and entertainment has been put together for the annual event, which was revived by the local community in 1967 to help recreate the 12th Century Michaelmass church services and festivities held in the parish to bring local people together in feasting and celebration.
Following a spectacular opening ceremony there will be the traditional mixture of live music, sporting competitions, fairground, fireworks, illuminations, carnival parade and displays including comic book characters brought to life at venues across the community.
To preview the event, chairperson of the Houghton Feast Steering Group, coun Anne Lawson, was joined by the winner of this year’s winner of The Voice of Houghton-le-Spring, talented local singer Ann Marie Gray,17, at Zazz Theatre in Newbottle Street with some of the costumed comic book characters, entertainers and community groups appearing during this year’s event.
Also chairperson of the Coalfield Area Committee which has helped develop what has become one of the largest community celebration events in the region, coun Lawson said: “We are all proud to support the Houghton Feast, a fantastic annual event celebrating all that is good about our community and the people living here.
“From our rich cultural heritage and the Rector of Houghton Bernard Gilpin beginning the tradition of ‘roasting the ox’ as part of the fair in mediaeval times to the musical, creative and sporting talents of today’s generation, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
“Who better to demonstrate this than the winner of the annual The Voice of Hougton-le-Spring Ann Marie Gray who will perform at the opening ceremony to
entertain us all.”
Coun Lawson added: “The growth in the popularity and size of the event over the last 51 years, is all down to the continuing support of local people and the hard work of the community groups and volunteers who work so hard to organise it.”
The opening ceremony for Houghton Feast - The Greatest Show on Friday, 0ctober 5 at The Broadway will see the Mayor of Sunderland Councillor Lynda Scanlan switch on the Houghton Feast lights display at 7pm .
This will follow the Houghton Feast Tattoo featuring live music from Houghton Pipe Band, Houghton Area Youth Brass Band and the Houghton Feast Choir of pupils from local schools with dancers from Zazz Theatre in Newbottle Street.
The year’s Houghton Feast programme of music, arts, sports, entertainment and community events/activities includes :
•Kay Carman Celebrity Concert Sat 6 October
•Houghton Feast Carnival Parade Saturday 7 October
•Traditional Ox Roast Monday 8 October
•Firework spectacular Monday 8 October
•The Greatest Houghton Feast Variety Show Saturday 13 Oct
•Houghton Fairground in Rectory Field for duration of event
•Houghton Feast Classic Car Show 6 Oct
•‘Geek Feast’ - A TV, movie, game, comic convention Sun 7 Oct
•Houghton Feast Open Golf Competition /Rugby Match/Open Bowls Tournament Saturday 6 Oct