Brownies get ready to roar at Jarrow Festival celebrations

Young artists are set to bring Anglo-Saxon tales of fire-breathing dragons to life for the inaugural Dragon Parade celebrating the 30th Jarrow Festival this weekend.

Friday, 25th May 2018, 6:00 am
The 5th Jarrow Brownies with help from ladies from Williby Roc's have been making a model of a Dragon to take part in Jarrow Festival. Pic Doug Moody Photography.

Hundreds of people are set to join dozens of the giant mythical creatures, designed by school children and community groups, weave their way through the streets of the South Tyneside town.

The parade is set to be one of the festival highlights, alongside the Community and Charity Fayre, organised by Groundwork South Tyneside & Newcastle (STAN), which also operates Jarrow Hall Anglo-Saxon Farm, Village and Bede Museum next to Drewetts Park.

Kaye Symington from Williby Rocs Eco Crafts with Brownies (left to right) Ruby Dabbs from St Josephs RC Primary, Ava Nyland and Kate OMalley. Pic by Doug Moody Photography.

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The popular 11-acre visitor attraction has been hosting dragon-inspired activities as part of its work to retell the story of the Venerable Bede and Anglo-Saxon Northumbria.

Dragons, said to be the guardians of treasures and valuables, were a prominent symbol in Anglo-Saxon culture, and appeared in legends and jewellery design.

Leigh Venus, operations manager (culture and heritage) at Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle with responsibility for Jarrow Hall, said: “I think it’s wonderful that Jarrow Festival is enjoying its inaugural Dragon Parade, the first of what we’d love to become an annual event.

“Dragons appear in Anglo-Saxon tales, including the legendary creature in Beowulf, and the Anglo-Saxons also liked to use the twisting shapes of dragons to decorate jewellery, armour and other objects.”

Danielle Pollard from Williby Rocs Eco Crafts with Brownies (left to right) Molly Swinney from St Matthews, Amelia Franchi from St Matthews and Lydia Bowman-Fuller from Valley View. Pic by Doug Moody Photography.

The parade will start at Jarrow Town Hall at 10.30am on Sunday and ends at Drewetts Park, where the Jarrow Festival Community and Charity Fayre will be underway with live music, food stalls, fairground rides, face painting and a bouncy castle.

“We want as many people as possible to support the Jarrow Festival with a lot of it taking place at Drewetts Park where the Dragon Parade will finish adjacent to our site at Jarrow Hall,” added Leigh.

“We’re offering visitors the opportunity to pay whatever they want for entry so as many people as possible can explore our beautiful 11 acre-site.”

The Fifth Jarrow Brownies comprised of school children aged seven to 11 from across Jarrow is one of the many community groups involved in preparations for the first Dragon Parade.

Community arts and crafts company Williby Rocs Eco Crafts has been introduced by Groundwork STAN to work with the young people of Jarrow to help them prepare for Jarrow Festival’s first Dragon Parade.

Danielle Pollard one of the artists of Williby Rocs Eco Crafts said: “I think the young people have really embraced the challenge and it’s fired their imagination; there’s a lot of excitement now the Dragon Parade is just round the corner.”

As part of the festival, Jarrow Hall Anglo-Saxon Farm, Village and Bede Museum will also be offering visitors’ to pay whatever they want for entry instead of the standard ticket price.

The festival has gone from strength to strength since it was revived by councillors in 1988.

This year’s festival kicks off today (MAY 25) and runs until Sunday, June 3, with a variety of events taking place across Jarrow, over the May Bank Holiday weekend and beyond.