After going virtual in 2020, Houghton Feast is back for 2021 with even more fun for the family.
Residents can look forward to a full programme of activities, events, and entertainment from Friday 8 to Sunday 17 October, including art exhibitions, car shows and coffee mornings.
The festival will kick off with the official Opening Ceremony in The Broadway at 7pm on Friday 8 October. Crowds will be entertained by local talent including Houghton Pipe Band, Zazz dancers, Houghton Area Youth Brass Band, and the ever-popular choir made up of local school children. At the end of the night, the brand-new Houghton Feast illuminations will be switched on by the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Henry Trueman.
Another highlight that will take place on Saturday 9 October from 2pm is the Carnival Parade. Starting at the Library car park and finishing at the Dairy Lane entrance to Rectory Park, residents are encouraged to come along and watch the parade that will include marching musical bands, Zazz dancers, Billy Purvis the Clown, classic cars, and vintage steam vehicles.
Also returning this year is the famous Ox Roast, taking place on Saturday 9 October from 3pm. A roasted whole ox, which will be prepared overnight, will be served up in sandwiches in the grounds of the Old Rectory, where the first oxen were roasted by Rector Bernard Gilpin to feed Houghton’s poor in the 16th century.
The ceremonial first slice will be carved by the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Henry Trueman, and all proceeds from the sale of the tasty sandwiches will be used towards next year’s event.
Cllr Kevin Johnston, Chair of Houghton Feast Steering Committee, said: “It is very exciting that Houghton Feast is returning this year. Last year’s ‘Houghton Feast at Home’ was a successful online festival, but the atmosphere of everyone taking to the streets for the festivities and bringing our community together is what makes this event so spectacular.
“We have ten days full of brilliant activities and performances, and I recommend everyone in the city to come along and see what Houghton has to offer.”
Cllr Linda Williams, Cabinet Member for Vibrant City said: “We are delighted to be able to bring so much entertainment back to the streets of Houghton this year. While we will be having lots of fun, it is also very important to make sure that everyone attending stays safe.
“I would like to remind everyone coming along to stay safe and follow the guidance provided by continuing to wear a face-covering indoors, particularly in crowded areas, wash your hands often, meet outdoors when you can, and socially distance where possible.”