Bridport Hat Festival 2015
PUBLISHED: 12:04 28 August 2015 | UPDATED: 12:04 28 August 2015
Brian Atkinson, chairman of the committee that organises this extravaganza, lifts the brim on this year’s chapeau-inspired events - from best hatted dog to a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
Now in its sixth year the Bridport Hat Festival is a firm fixture in the town’s social calendar. Though others may have followed in our wake, including the Baliwag Buntal Hat Festival in the Philippines, Bridport with its eclectic and somewhat whacky population make this a particularly special festival. We love a good party in Bridport!
The origins of the festival are a little obscure, but it certainly involved our President, Roger Snook (owner of Snooks the legendary hatters and gentleman’s outfitters in West Street). The Festival is organised by a hard working committee of volunteers and is entirely funded by donations from local businesses, Hat Festival merchandise and fundraising events such as pub quizzes and a Tea Dance. We also receive splendid support from Bridport Town Council and our local Tourist Information Centre.
Prior to the big day, on Thursday 3 September at 8pm, we host ‘The Hat Auction’ at Bridport & West Dorset Club in South Street, where the results of a ‘Hat Amnesty’ are re-homed to the highest bidder; there is thus no excuse for being hatless on the day! On Friday 4 there’s an opening concert at the Arts Centre with Hank Wangford our patron (a musician, physician and nude mountaineer) who is joined on stage by his Lost Cowboys. They will no doubt play Hank’s Bridport Hat Festival Waltz written specially for the event.
The Milliners & Hatters Open Competition attracts some fine talent from the creative world of head wear, with the £500 prize sponsored by Hat Fest founder Roger Snook. On Saturday 5 fun competitions include best ladies, gents, girls, boys, most elegantly hatted couple and best hatted dog!
This year we are also incorporating “fringe events” including the Allington Hill Billies’ Mad Hatters Tea Party in Cooper’s Field, North Allington and Bridport Ceilidh’s event at Church House Hall, South Street. Money raised from the Bridport Hat Festival goes to ‘head related’ charities - Brain Tumour Research and the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust.
Donning a hat - whether everyday chapeau or fantastic creation –seems to lifts the spirits, this is most evident when we take our mass photo in Bucky Doo Square at 1pm on Saturday 5 September. Do join us. You will never have seen such a happy, smiling collection of hatted people in your life!
For more details visit bridporthatfest.org
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