The Cockermouth Georgian festival took part over 4 days in May with the highlight being the Georgian Fair on Saturday 5th May. Taking part in the beautiful Georgian market place and along the main street which has been renovated since the floods and is now looking better than ever, dozens of people dressed in costume and provided entertainment. The date was set at 1778 the year John Paul Jones invaded nearby Whitehaven and the mother of poet William Wordsworth died whilst he lived in Cockermouth as a boy of eight. His father's house, now a National Trust property, has been renovated to that period and was open to the public.
Half the road was closed and stalls were set up along the street with various crafts for sale along with information and charity stalls.
A dance group called Regency Re-Jigged performed a selection of traditional dances from the Georgian era, which included the once risqué dance My Lord Byron's Maggot, on the main street.
The dancers were accompanied by live music from a pair of musicians playing fiddle and bodhrán. From further down the street came the skirl of the bagpipes.
Accompanied by concertina player these two clog dancers did a few sessions featuring some rather impressive steps.
A marching display was given by this military re-enactment group whose leader kept in character to explain a little of the soldier's life in the eighteenth century.
One of the entertainers who kept audiences amused throughout the day was the magician who with a droll banter performed a series of traditional tricks, which are always more impressive when seen live.
There were also several troupes of Morris dancers performing at various locations throughout the day - this particular group were performing in the car-park at the back of the market place where there was also some Maypole dancing.
Among the morris teams was this group of Border style morris dancers (that's Welsh Border not Scottish) with the traditional ragged costumes and blacked faces.
Another group is seen here preparing to perform some songs accompanied by traditional instruments on the main street.
History was brought to life with a series of short plays at various locations in the town and a guide took people from one to the other.
One such play illustrated how young people would be taken on at hiring fairs to become servants in the houses of the wealthy.
Street theatre was performed all day by several different acts. This group performed macabre comedy and got plenty of big laughs from the crowd that gathered.
Of course the slightly gory bits really appealed to the kids especially as it was always served with a large dollop of over acting that turned it into a living cartoon.
The finale of this particular show involved a large canon, a trick that went wrong and a very loud bang which shocked everyone despite the fact they were half expecting it.
The afternoon finished with a grand parade through the town of all those that had dressed in Georgian costume.
The procession started at the market place and marched down the main street and over the bridge to the memorial gardens.
In this picturesque setting, beside the River Derwent opposite Wordsworth House, a large crowd gathered to watch the sedan chair race.
The race teams consisted of five members, one to hold each corner of the chair and one to take a seat inside.
First the teams sprint to the far end and pick up the chair and then charge towards the finish line - but at any stage a call can be given from the referee to change - and the seated person has to exchange places with one of the carriers.
Running whilst carrying such a heavy object can cause problems and it is not uncommon for a bearer to drop their corner, leading to an exciting crash as the chair digs into the ground and throws out the occupant.
After several races the overall winner was the team from Ford Motor Sport who are used to dealing with much higher powered vehicles but their teamwork shone through with the speed of the changes.
Gallery of Photos at the Georgian Fair
Cockermouth Georgian Fair 2006
Return to Western Lakeland Events
Visit the official Georgian Fair website
The website of Regency Re-Jigged dance group