With just over a week to go until Staffordshire Day, attractions and community groups have joined forces to create a packed programme of activities.
The annual celebration, organised by Enjoy Staffordshire, supported by Staffordshire County Council returns on Bank Holiday Monday 1 May with over 50 events planned across the county over the weekend.
Darryl Eyers, Director for Economy at Staffordshire County Council said:
“With just over a week to go now and lots of events planned we are all incredibly excited about the celebrations for our second Staffordshire Day.
“We all know that Staffordshire is a great county and a great place to live, work and visit but now’s our chance to really shout about it. There’s loads happening on the day from arts events to music and food festivals and we’ve even got our own special Staffordshire Day Ale being brewed for the occasion. I want everyone to get involved and have a great day. And, remember when joining in the celebrations please tweet a photo of where you are or your favourite place using #StaffordshireDay.”
In north Staffordshire:
- Lovers of live music can support more than 60 local bands and musicians at the free Lymelight Music Festival in Newcastle-under-Lyme, which starts on Friday 28th April and runs across the whole weekend.
- The Leek Arts Festival also opens on Staffordshire Day Weekend, with performances from comedian and folk singer Richard Digance on Saturday 29th April (£12) and Louis Barabbas and John Dhali on Sunday 30th (£8 advance/£10 door).
- Trentham Monkey Forest will be revealing How the Monkeys Arrived in Staffordshire on Monday 1st (normal admission charges apply). There will be boat rides, wilderness skills classes, and experiments with mad scientists at The Trentham Estate throughout the weekend (included in garden admission price).
- The free Historic Walk of Longton will reveal the story behind the town and some of its landmark buildings, while the Heritage Walk of Froghall, also free, has been organised by the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership, to focus on the area’s history. Those with passion for history will enjoy talks on Arnold Bennett and artist Arthur Berry at the Wedgwood Institute in Burslem, where there will also be performances from the North Staffordshire Symphony Orchestra and ceramic painting workshops from Middleport-based Emma Bailey.
- A number of pottery attractions are running Staffordshire Day events, including Emma Bridgewater, which is hosting a plant fair in their secret garden. Middleport Pottery will be holding lots of activities and the Gladstone Pottery Museum has a two for one offer on admission.
- And there’s the chance to celebrate North Staffordshire’s beauty, as the Leek & Rudyard Lake Steam Railway reopens for 2017 and the Rudyard Lake Sailing Club’s open day offers a free introduction to sailing.
- The first Tour de Lewis bike ride (£19.99 per person) provides a chance to celebrate Staffordshire Day on two wheels. Starting and finishing at The Moat House Acton Trussell, the 42.6 mile route connects three Lewis Partnership properties, with oatcakes, locally sourced ice cream, and other local delicacies for everyone who takes part.
- Cycling enthusiasts will also be spoilt for choice, with four different routes around Stafford forming the Katharine House Hospice’s Cycling Challenge on Sunday 30th April (places from £5 per person).
- Meanwhile, Stafford Hockey Club hosts its annual, free to enter beer festival on Saturday 29th, with 24 beers and ciders to sample, plus hockey and rugby tournaments and live music from the Rock Dogs.
- Earlier on Saturday 29th, the free Staffordshire Day Street Market in Stafford offers a great day out for the family, with stalls to browse and children’s entertainment ranging from bouncy castles to donkey rides.
- And the Staffordshire History Day, at Entrust’s headquarters in Stafford on 6th May, will feature talks on the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Mercia, and Irish playwright, poet and former Stafford MP Richard Sheridan (tickets £23 each).
- The life of David Garrick, the ground-breaking actor born in 1717, will be celebrated in and around the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum at the free Garrick 300 Community Party, featuring community market, art and local history displays, crafts activities and more.
- Hear the story of another of the city’s cultural heroes, writer and poet Anna Seward, and the scandals of Cathedral Close, on a walking tour of Lichfield’s historic streets with costumed guide Georgian Jono (£3.50 per person).
- Celebrate Staffordshire’s military heroes at the Staffordshire Regiment Museum’s Discovery Day, where you can handle weapons, try on uniforms and explore the full size replica trench (£5 adults, £4 children/concessions).
- Enjoy live music and readings from The Waterside Singers at Swinfen Hall Hotel, followed by afternoon tea – showcasing Staffordshire produce and specialities – and a flute of chilled Prosecco (£27.50 each).
- On Sunday 30th April, there will be a special, free thanksgiving service at Lichfield Cathedral, featuring displays from schools, charities and local businesses, on why they love Staffordshire.
- At the National Memorial Arboretum, the free to enter Curly Magpie Spring Fair returns for two days on Sunday 30th, offering vintage and handmade bargains, plus a nostalgic tea dance.
In East Staffordshire:
- Dinosaurs will be taking over at the National Forest Adventure Farm, Tatenhill, with the T-Rex and Velociraptor on the prowl and handlers offering tips on controlling them (adults/children £9.50), as well as the chance to sample a Staffordshire Day Pie.
- At Claymills Pumping Station, Stretton, there will be an open day with original stationary steam engines on display, with the chance to have a go, plus Victorian costumes for younger visitors to try on (adults £5, concessions £4, children £2).
- And at the National Brewery Centre, you can enjoy Simply Tina, a Tina Turner tribute act, on Saturday 29th April (tickets £15), and explore Burton’s brewing heritage with two for one museum tours on Monday 1st.
- Fans of traditional pursuits can help residents celebrate their plentiful water supply at the free Newborough Well Dressing, where there will be stalls and family entertainment too.
- For something more sedate, explore the Bluebell Walks in ancient woodland at Yoxall (adults £2.50, children £1), followed by tea and cake in the pop-up café.
- The storyteller will be in residence on Bank Holiday Monday at Tamworth Castle. Visitors are invited to come along dressed in their favorite costumes and listen to stories of Knights, dragons, princesses and other Castle related themes. Visitors can also participate in craft activities.
- Traditional May Day activities for all ages at Middleton Hall. Activities include a Green man Trail in the Walled Garden; may pole dancing on the West Lawn and garden talks on Gertrude Jekyll & Edwin Lutyens given by the Head Gardener.
In Cannock and South Staffordshire:
- There’s high octane fun for all the family at Hednesford Hills Raceway, with stock cars, hotrods, bangers and the annual Caravan Grand Prix reducing 20 caravans to splinters (tickets £16 adults, £13 over 65s, £7 5-14-year-olds, family ticket £40)!
And there will be fairground rides, circus, parade, market stalls and more at the free Perton Carnival.
- For those who love Staffordshire’s stunning countryside, Cannock Chase Trekking Centre’s all-day pub ride offers a sedate journey through the Chase for experienced riders, plus a tasty lunch at The Horns near Rugeley (£85 per person, not including lunch).
- A free Dawn Chorus Walk, setting off from Perton Library at 4am, gives early risers the chance to explore the local woodland and lakes, and spot local wildlife, with the help of South Staffordshire RSPB’s Theresa Dorrance.
- Foodies can sample some great Staffordshire wine, at the Halfpenny Green Vineyards’ free tastings, while there will be specialist food and drink, and more, on offer at Hednesford’s artisan market and the Penkridge Bank Holiday Market and car boot sale.
- Meanwhile at Weston Park, there will be a plant fair to keep green-fingered visitors occupied, and an art exhibition at the Granary Art Gallery, featuring equestrian artists Alison Wilson and Glynis Mills.
Staffordshire based Lymestone Brewery has also brewed a special beer to mark the day with bottles of the Staffordshire Day ale available at The Lymestone Vaults in Newcastle-under-Lyme and The Borehole in Stone.
There are over 50 events to enjoy across the whole Bank Holiday Weekend highlighting the range of visitor attractions on offer in Staffordshire and helping communities show their pride in their county. For more information and a full list visit www.enjoystaffordshire.com/staffsday.