The annual Jarrow Festival marks 35 years as it returns for 2023 - this is what to expect

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The Jarrow Festival promises a packed programme of activities and entertainment for South Tyneside families when it returns later this month.

The annual ten-day long celebration of community will kick off on Friday, May 26, with a variety of events taking place across Jarrow over the half-term week, ending on Sunday, June 4.

Attractions at the festival will include art and history exhibitions, craft sessions, children’s activities, music, afternoon teas, performing arts workshops, sports activities, and more.

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The events will take place at venues across the town, including Jarrow Hall, Jarrow Focus, West Park Jarrow, the Viking Centre, children’s centres, community associations and local churches.

Councillor Pat Hay, the Mayor of South Tyneside, joined the Jarrow Festival Committee at Jarrow Hall to launch the festival, which marks its 35th year this year.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Cllr Pat Hay, with Fred Hemmer, Chairperson of Jarrow Festival Committee, and the rest of the Jarrow Festival Committee at the launch of the event. The Mayor of South Tyneside, Cllr Pat Hay, with Fred Hemmer, Chairperson of Jarrow Festival Committee, and the rest of the Jarrow Festival Committee at the launch of the event.
The Mayor of South Tyneside, Cllr Pat Hay, with Fred Hemmer, Chairperson of Jarrow Festival Committee, and the rest of the Jarrow Festival Committee at the launch of the event. | South Tyneside Council

The Mayor said: “The Jarrow Festival is always a fantastic, vibrant family event with something for all ages to enjoy. It is also a wonderful way of bringing together local people and communities.

“The festival is a true celebration of art, culture, education and sport, and has gone from strength to strength over the years since its revival in 1988.

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“It would be wonderful to see as many people as possible coming along and enjoying the events and activities on offer.”

Jarrow Hall will host exhibitons, workshops, trails, crafts and activities throughout the week, as well as the Jarrow Folk Festival with music, crafts and workshops in the gardens from 11am to 4pm on Sunday, May 28.

Guided tours will be held at St Paul’s Church, as well as arts and crafts displays and a lecture on Bede’s Island from the University of Leeds’ Chair of Art History, Professor Catherine E Karkov.

A Mary Poppins themed party will be hosted by the Primrose Community Association at 10am on Wednesday, May 31, along with afternoon tea at 1.30pm on Friday, June 2, and a children’s disco on Saturday, June 3.

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The Mayor of South Tyneside, Cllr Pat Hay, with Fred Hemmer, Chairperson of Jarrow Festival Committee. The Mayor of South Tyneside, Cllr Pat Hay, with Fred Hemmer, Chairperson of Jarrow Festival Committee.
The Mayor of South Tyneside, Cllr Pat Hay, with Fred Hemmer, Chairperson of Jarrow Festival Committee. | South Tyneside Council

Members of the public can call the centre on 07974 249977 for further details about each event.

Costume historian Meridith Towne will be exploring sixties and seventies fashions inspired by the space race in a talk at 2pm on Wednesday, May 31, at Jarrow Focus.

Entry to the event costs £3 per person, with details available from Jarrow Focus on 489 4389.

Jarrow Focus will also be hosting a circus skills session on Friday, June 2, from 1.30pm to 2.30pm - entry is £2 per person.

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The Jarrow Choral Society is holding a free open rehearsal at the Grange Road Baptist Church Hall on Thursday, June 1, at 7.30pm.

To round off the festival, a family fun day will take place on Sunday, June 4, between 2pm and 5pm at the Bilton Hall Community Trust in Low Simonside.

Fred Hemmer, Chairperson of Jarrow Festival Committee who have organised the event, commented: “We remain a strong, vibrant and close community which is why we believe it is important that we continue to celebrate the Jarrow Festival.

“We hope that as many people as possible will come along and support the events which our local organisations have made great efforts to provide.”

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For full details of the Jarrow Festival’s programme of activities, members of the public are advised to pick up a booklet from Jarrow community centres or libraries.

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