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Bellerby Feast


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The remnant of the old-style village feast, the celebrations at Bellerby in North Yorkshire now focus on one day of fun and games. The principal participants dress as clowns and, accompanied by an accordion player, drummer, and helpers, they go from door to door round the village collecting money, cakes, sweets, raffle prizes, and so on. They also stop pedestrians, passing cars, coaches, and whoever else they can find to exact contribution. The edibles are distributed to children and other villagers who gather for the purpose around midday, and the money goes to organizing a fête on the day and, later in the year, a children's disco and Christmas party. The custom has changed over the years, and was several times in danger of extinction, but local effort revived interest each time. Its date has moved from the Wednesday after Whitsun to Whit Monday (in 1933) and later to the Spring Bank Holiday. The heavy drinking previously associated with the custom has been toned down, and the event made more family oriented.

Smith, 1989: 78–81;Sykes, 1977: 91–4.


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