Elmham ready for 1,000-visitor festival

It is soon be festival time at one mid Norfolk village which is getting ready to host its annual three-day spectacle this weekend.Elmham Festival is a proud tradition in North Elmham, near Dereham.

It is soon be festival time at one mid Norfolk village which is getting ready to host its annual three-day spectacle this weekend.

Elmham Festival is a proud tradition in North Elmham, near Dereham. It is now in its fourth decade and up to 1,000 people young and old are expected to visit the village during the three day festival which starts on Saturday.

Susanna Wade-Martins, chairman of the festival committee, said: “It is a real community event. It is the one time in the year when the whole village comes together. About 100 volunteers are involved and it is a real celebration of the village.”

Throughout the weekend there will be a whole host of things to entertain the whole family.

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Every day in the churchyard, paddock and Memorial Hall there will be a variety of stalls, including crafts, bric-a-brac and book stalls, as well a raffle and tombola.

There will also be an art exhibition and memorabilia display about the village at the primary school, and organ music and poetry recitals in the church.

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People can climb the tower of St Mary's Church and enjoy the expansive views of the Norfolk countryside. Inside the church they can also look at the many floral displays in the flower festival which this year has the theme “Bloomin' Poetry” and includes displays based on a range of poetry including words from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Benjamin Zephaniah.

On Saturday one of the highlights is the festival concert in the church where the Elmham Festival Orchestra and Chorus will perform a selection of classical music celebrating the anniversaries of Purcell, Haydn, Handel and Mendelssohn.

During the day there will also be a fairground organ playing melodies opposite the church and at 2pm there is a dog obedience demonstration in the paddock.

On Sunday there is the festival service of praise at 10am at the cathedral ruins, and the Dereham Mini Club will be putting on a display of their vehicles in the afternoon in the paddock. Poetry recitals are at 2pm and 3pm, and an organ recital is at 3pm.

On Monday there is a car boot sale starting at 8.30am in the paddock, a hog roast from midday at the Memorial Hall, a jazz recital in the church from 12pm until 1pm, poetry readings at 2pm and 3pm, and festival songs of praise in the church at 7pm.

Refreshments will be available at the Memorial Hall throughout the festival.

A vintage double-decker bus from the Eastern Transport Collection Society will also be offering free rides on Sunday afternoon and Monday, from Dereham Station to County School linking the festival and the real ale festival at the Railway Freehouse.

Proceeds from the festival will go towards raising funds for a new roof for the village church's south aisle.

It will cost �70,000 for the repairs and the village has already secured some money from English Heritage as well as grants from other organisations to pay for part of the costs.

Entry to the festival is free with the exception of the concert on Saturday night which costs �8 for a ticket and starts at 7.30pm.

For more information on the festival visit www.northelmhamvillage.org.uk

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