Sheringham goes lobster potty at the festival

Victoria LeggettColourful waistcoats, hats adorned with flowers and feathers, and wooden sticks clashing in time to a cheery tune.As visitors to Sheringham stood eating ice creams in the sunshine this weekend, the sights that met their eyes, along with the gentle twinkling of bells, could mean only one thing.Victoria Leggett

Colourful waistcoats, hats adorned with flowers and feathers, and wooden sticks clashing in time to a cheery tune.

As visitors to Sheringham stood eating ice creams in the sunshine this weekend, the sights that met their eyes, along with the gentle twinkling of bells, could mean only one thing.

Morris dancers, complete with hankies and accordion players, had descended on the town for the 16th Lobster Potty Festival.

Beginning with a parade on Saturday morning, the 21 sides from across the country later split into their groups, performing at a number of points throughout town.


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Station Road and High Street were closed to cars, allowing spectators to form crowds at the town clock or Two Lifeboats pub to watch a mixture of morris dancing styles.

While these dancers from Essex followed the border tradition - wearing 'tattered' waistcoats and blackening their faces - others adopted the Cotswold, North West or Longsword styles.

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Steve and Eileen Brown, of Sheringham's Lobster Potties morris dancing side, organised the event for the first time after moving to Norfolk from Lancashire two years ago.

Mr Brown said while the weather had done its part bringing crowds to the town, the dancing was also a big draw. He said: 'We have people coming in specifically for the festival. It's generally a fantastic weekend. People look at it and it's music, it's dancing, there's colour.'

The sides, who came from as far afield as Leicestershire and Essex, each wore outfits specific to their group.

Some wore bells on their shins, while others had them attached to their clogs. There were green skirts and black braces, black trousers and red braces, and the Loose Women from Kent wearing all the colours of the rainbow.

But as the groups gathered at Lifeboat plain for a mass dancing session on Saturday evening, Mrs Brown said the Lobster Potties, and many others around the country, were struggling to keep numbers up.

She said: 'Some either seem to think we are too old, or they are too busy with families, or for the younger ones it's just not cool.'

The odd snigger from teenagers as they watched eccentrically-dressed dancers move in unison to live music, backed that view.

But the organiser said that unfashionable reputation was undeserved. She said: 'It's a way of expressing yourself. You do these mundane things every day - it's a release. People really enjoy it.'

Anyone interested in joining the Lobster Potties should contact Mr and Mrs Brown on 01263 837693.

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