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A Feast of Family Fun


Sep 16, 2017 #Entertainment, #event

PREPARATIONS ARE ALMOST COMPLETE for this year’s Houghton Feast (6 – 15 Oct).

What began as a two day festival in the 12th Century, was revived by the local community in 1967 and become an increasingly popular annual event now stretching over ten days.

Celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, this year’s community celebrations have a time travelling theme reflecting the area’s rich cultural heritage including one of its most historically significant residents – Bernard Gilpin.

The Rector of Houghton 1557 to 1583, he is thought to have helped  launched the Houghton Feast. Either as an extension of the annual Michaelmass services at the local Parish Church of St Michael & All Angels, or as a celebration of his safe return to Houghton after his arrest for heresy when the country was under the rule of Mary I.

Whatever the historic fact, it is well know that he would welcome and feed his parishioners and their families each Sunday from Michaelmas to Easter.

He would regularly give a bullock or hog for roasting to feed the Parish’s poor which is the origins of the annual Roasting of the Ox for which the Houghton Feast has become famous.

This opening ceremony ‘Houghton Feast 50 : Journey through time laser show’ on Friday 6 0ctober, will see the Mayor of Sunderland Councillor Doris MacKnight switch on the Houghton Feast lights display at 7pm.

This follows a parade led by Houghton Area Youth Brass Band with schools carrying Doctor Who themed lanterns behind large dancing puppets of characters from the world famous television programme.

Also featured will be music from Hetton Lyons School Choir and young local musician Tom Mouse-Smith, 13, a pupil at Houghton’s Kepier school who has performed with stars such as James Bay, Shed Seven and Catfish and the Bottlemen and appeared at music festivals such as Glastonbury and T in the Park.

The Chair of the Coalfield Area Committee, Councillor Anne Lawson said: “We are proud to support the Houghton Feast, this fantastic annual event helps us celebrate all that is good about our community.

“From our rich cultural heritage and Bernard Gilpin beginning the tradition of ‘roasting the ox’ to the musical, creative and sporting talents of today’s generation.

“Who better to demonstrate this than Tom Mouse-Smith, who has played alongside some of British music’s biggest stars at such a young age and will perform at the opening ceremony to entertain us all.”

The year’s Houghton Feast programme of music, arts, sports, entertainment and  community events/activities includes :

– Houghton Feast Community Parade from 2pm on Saturday 7 October

– Traditional Ox Roast from 4pm on Monday 9 October

– Fantastic firework display on St Michael’s RC Primary School playing field 7.30pm on Monday 9 October

By Emily