Houghton Feast opens with an evening of music, theatre and lights with its official launch event on Friday 3 October.
This year’s ten-day event adopts a commemorative theme around the centenary of the First World War and covers a range of traditional and modern activities for everyone to enjoy.
The annual event dates back to the 12th Century and the traditional ox-roasting back to the 16th century.
Councillor Anne Lawson, Chair of Houghton Feast Steering Committee, said: “Adopting the Centenary of the Great War as the theme for Houghton Feast gives us all the opportunity to reflect on the impact the war had on our communities here in Houghton.
“As well as the commemorations, the jam-packed programme also contains the familiar activities that we all enjoy”
Proceedings get off to a memorable start by welcoming the Right Worshipful, the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Stuart Porthouse to perform the official switch on of Houghton Illuminations at the Friday night launch event.
Cllr Porthouse said: ““I’m really looking forward to opening this fantastic annual event. It is a great reflection of the outstanding community spirit in the Houghton area it shows centuries of tradition is still celebrated by young and old alike. It reminds me of when I was young and visited Houghton feast on numerous occasions, I encourage everyone from the city to go along and join in the fun, let’s support and keep this annual event in our diary.”
The Broadway is being brought to life from 6.30pm with a range of balloon artists, storytellers and story characters before the main stage programme begins at 7pm with a performance of the traditional Houghton Feast Tattoo. The Tattoo is a collection of performances by children and young people and the presentation of a life size soldier produced by artist, Mark Burns Cassell and a range of schools and community groups.
Sunderland Live deliver the event on behalf of Sunderland City Council and Chris Alexander, Chief Operating Officer at Sunderland Live, said: “We are proud to once again be bringing such a popular event to the city.
“With its origins in the 12th century, Houghton Feast is the longest running event on our calendar. It is appropriate that an event that celebrates heritage at its core should take on the mantle of honouring such an important historic event as the beginning of the First World War.”
Monday 6 October sees the 47th annual ox roasting take place. The traditional ox roast honours Bernard Gilpin’s generous act of feeding Houghton’s poor in the sixteenth century and this year the evening closes with a breathtaking firework display.
Including the traditional Saturday parade and resident fairground, the full ten-day programme comprises a host of diverse events delivered by a range of voluntary and community groups.
For further information on this visit www.houghtonfeast.co.uk